Thursday, November 1, 2012

Frozen Deliciousness

Long time, no post! I just had to share these because they are too, too good not too.

Z and I recently came into a gelato (slash sorbet, slash ice cream) maker, which is my new favorite thing, and I have been experimenting with lots of yummy combos. Here are my favorites so far, if you are lucky enough to have the right machinery (if not, I highly recommend one)!


12 oz. bag frozen mixed berries
2 black or red plums, silced
1/3 cup sugar
splash vanilla extract
1/4 cup brandy (or triple sec)
1 cups red wine (they suggest Zinf or Pinor Noir)
2/3 cup OJ
1 naval orange, sliced into rounds

Heat berries, plums, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, until fruit is fully thawed and sugar is syrupy. Stir in brandy/triple sec and transfer mixture to a pitcher or bowl. Stir in wine, OJ, and orange slices. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or, better, overnight.

Strain fruit from sangria, discard oranges, and puree remaining fruit in blender until smooth. Press puree through a very fine mesh sieve into wine. Stir together and churn in machine until thick and slushy (our took like 45-60 minutes). Freeze 4-5 hours. 


1 cup pear pulp*
Tons of fresh basil (I think I used 1/2 a cup), chiffoned VERY thin
6 tablespoons lemon juice (I did a little lemon-lime mix, which was good)
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Heat sugar and half of the water (3/4 cup) in a small saucepan with the chiffoned basil. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring regularly. Allow basil to steep in sugar for 20-30 minutes, stirring regularly and covering in between. Place sugar in cup or bowl and cool in fridge COMPLETELY.

Blend (in a blender on "smoothie" or a similar setting) pear pulp, remaining water (3/4 cup), lemon juice, and basil syrup, adding as much/as little of the fresh basil as you desire (i added like 2/3 because I love basil; my roommate thought there was a smidge too much, while I thought there was not enough! So your call). Add blended liquid to ice cream machine; churn for about 30-40 minutes until thick and slushy. Cool for a couple hours.

*I used about 1 1/2 green d'anjou pears. Peel off the skin, cut into small chunks, and puree in the blender.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Miso katsu

Deep-fried pork cutlets ("katsu") are a wonderful Japanese specialty, and in my opinion the rich miso-sauce-coated version that is Nagoya's local specialty is the best. I finally managed to make it at home, and it turned out pretty damn delicious, if I do say so myself. But it wasn't all fun and games. The tasty photo you see here hides behind it a legacy of terror...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

For Your Reading Pleasure

A friend shared this blog on his facebook -- it seemed like something you Jeff Chefs (and Jeff Chef followers!) would be interested in.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Japanese Style Fried Chicken

On my first trip to Boston to visit a high school friend, her group of friends took us to a Chinese/Japanese restaurant and urged me to try the "aged dofu". Although they assumed that I would know what this was, I had no idea. My thoughts flitted to the infamous "stinky tofu" I had once heard of, a fermented soy dish rumored to meet its rather illustrious name with a vengeance. I was apprehensive, but they were getting one for the table and before I could say anything the orders were taken. Sticky, brown mystery cubes flew around in my thoughts.  I wasn't prepared for this malodorous dish to ruin my appetite for the night, but then again maybe it would be one of those things where I would get hooked. But when the dish came out, I saw (or rather smelled) that this seemed to be rather ordinary tofu, other than the fact it was deep fried. Confusion ensued. How was this tofu "aged"? Was it some kind of acquired taste that amateurs couldn't even detect?

A quick look at the menu cleared things up. This was not "aged" tofu but "age dofu", properly pronounced agé-dofu. It was a moment where I clearly saw something lost in translation in a fairly humorous manner. I tried to explain the humor of the situation to my hosts, but didn't quite succeed:
"You see, when you said 'aged', I thought you meant it was fermented and I was scared but then I realized that the word isn't 'age', it's the Japanese word 'agé' that means deep fried, so it's not actually aged at all..."

...I'd like to say that you had to be there, but unfortunately I just don't have what it takes to be funny.
However, this post isn't about age-dofu or stinky tofu or any tofu for that matter. It's about a delicious chicken salad on rice, marinated in soy sauce and ginger, and "agéd", or deep fried.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Valentine Truffles

Like the good little Japanese wife that I am (ahem), I made some truffles for Valentine's Day this year. No, I'm not trying to put myself down. It's just that many, if not most, Japanese girls will have experienced making chocolate at some point in their lives. Why is that, you ask. What about the men? Will I include an actual recipe this time? Find out after the jump.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gotta Eat 'Em All!

This weekend I spent a FANTASTIC few days in D.C. with several other Lord Jeff Chefs during which time we celebrated the birthday of Jeff Chef Zachary with a blast-from-the-not-so-distant-past Pokemon Party.  Of course, I made the dessert.  And of course, this dessert had to be theme-appropriate.  So I offer for your approval my Pokeball Cupcakes.  I made red velvets as well as root beer float cupcakes and used a buttercream fondant for the buttons.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Hello Lord Jeff Cooks!

No recipe for you today, I'm sorry, as I've been cut-off from a kitchen during my thesis travels.  I've also been eating many various spicy, mushy, curry, creamy things whose names and ingredients I cannot hope to begin to identify for you; I remember my friends and I being reduced to calling them "The Orange One with the Chick Peas" or "The Green One with the Paneer" or "The Yellow One with the Weird Chunky Stuff" etc. etc.

Subsequently, I found myself on this morning (quite possibly my favorite food website, both for the fantastic photos and the incredible recipes; it is the origin of the to-die-for Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes!) drooling -- almost literally -- over various yummy recipes.  Pizza with Bacon, Onions and Cream.  Skirt Steak Salad with Blue Cheese.  Raspberry Brown Sugar Gratin.  Blue Cheese and Red Potato Tart.  Vanilla Roasted Pears.  To name a few.  I think I finally stopped somewhere around page 35; my bookmark button was exhausted.

At one point I ran into a recipe for an apple scone, which got me to thinking about these incredible apple scones I made when I was probably about 14 (I think it was the summer before I started high school.)  And then I got sad because I realized that while those scones were seriously good, I have no idea where the recipe was from or where it's gone.  And this got me to thinking about how I started cooking -- baking, actually, the cooking came later -- in the first place.  And finally, it made me want to know everyone else's stories.

So how about it, Lord Jeffsters?  And blog-readers!! When did the cooking bug bite you?  Did you have a gateway recipe?  Was it that semester where the choices were cook or starve?  Was it a parent or a friend?  Tell us your story!

(Mine continues after the jump)

Christmas in New Zealand

Some people dream of a white Christmas. I, however, dream of a bright Christmas, full of beaches and BBQs, for this is the kind of Christmas we have down under in New Zealand.

Sawa and I were lucky enough to get to go back to New Zealand for Christmas - the first time back since we arrived in Canada. Although our time there was short, we managed to fit in plenty of the special things we've been missing since we left in August 2009. Most importantly, we got to spend lots of time with my family and with Sawa's family, who also flew over from Japan. However, of more relevance to this blog is that we got to have some of the delicious food and drink that NZ does so well.

Of course, NZ wine is world famous, and deservedly so. But one of the other great things about NZ is the glorious outdoors, and people there love to take advantage of the beautiful summer to get outside and enjoy food and wine al fresco. My philosophy is that everything tastes better when it's enjoyed outside. Sawa's stuffed Siberain huskey, Shibe, seems to agree.

Monday, January 10, 2011


It pains me to know that for most people in the English speaking world, ramen brings to mind three-minute snacks laced with artificial flavoring and msg. I do respect Momofuku Ando, the creator of instant noodles, as one of the most innovative and motivated businessmen of post-war Japan, but unfortunately the convenience over quality of the instant noodle fails to capture the glory that is true ramen.

Ramen, sometimes referred to as “Chinese noodles”, is one of the foods I miss the most when I’m away from Japan. Imagine slurping perfectly firm noodles out of a bowl of hot, oily soup, occasionally interrupted by slices of rich roasted pork. A complicated aroma of soy sauce, ginger, browned meat, and a fresh heaping of spring onions fills your nose, and every bite is garnished with a generous addition of freshly crushed garlic. Just thinking about it makes me drool. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Onion goo

You know how sometimes you go somewhere new, and unexpectedly you end up eating something that blows your mind?  And then you spend months, even years, coming back to that memory, in odd moments, in the shower or on the bus?  And then you think, "God, I have to go on a desperate search for this thing RIGHT. NOW." but you can't find it anywhere?  And then you start wondering if it'd even be as good as you remembered, because time and memory have a tendency to drop rose-tinted veils over your senses?  And so this mythical dish lives on in your mind, floating in and out of your consciousness, causing moments of wistfulness for years on end?


This is the story of Zoe and the "onion goo."  Spoiler alert: it has a happy ending.