Spam Musubi

Yup that’s right…SPAM. Mystery meat in a can.

Before you make a face and turn up your nose, if you’ve never tried spam musubi- you need to try this! Spam musubi is the ultimate Hawaiian snack- it’s delicious, filling, cheap, and easy to make. 2015-04-18 22.25.15In this post, I will actually be showing you two assembling methods- using a musubi mold OR if you don’t have one-do not despair-you can use the original Spam can!

I actually did not follow a single recipe, but just to make sure I did not go in blind I reviewed Momfuku’s Spam Musubi recipe and Eating Richly’s recipe – both give you the basics and also shows you how Spam musubi can vary! There’s tons of recipes out there you can follow.

Pre-recipe step: make the rice! I used premium grade sushi rice. Sushi rice is moist, sticky, and slightly sweet and can be bought at most large chain grocery stores. But if you don’t have sushi rice, not a big deal, you can use regular rice too. I’ve actually used brown rice (for a “healthy” version) and it was fine, except it’s not as sticky, so the rice may fall out.

Prepare 2 cups of cooked rice according the instructions on the bag.

2015-04-18 22.32.32This recipe makes 8 servings.

You will need:

  • 1 can of spam (they have turkey, low sodium, teriyaki, etc.)
  • 2 cups of sushi rice
  • 4 large sheets of nori, cut in half (sushi seaweed you can get at Japanese/Asian grocery stores)
  • sweet soy sauce (optional)
  • a musubi mold OR save the spam can!!
  • saran wrap
  • small bowl of water

Slide the spam out of the can, cut in half and then cut those halves evenly, and cut them in half again. You should have 8 even slices. Spam from the can is not very pretty to look at, but I promise it will look more appetizing later.
2015-04-18 22.27.20Heat up a wide non-stick pan at medium heat. DO NOT put oil in the pan- it’s not necessary since there is fat in the spam. Place the spam slices in and cook on each side until it’s caramelized and a little crispy. If you want extra flavor, you can add some sweet soy sauce on the top before flipping it over. Wait until the sauce is bubbly and has thickened. 

2015-04-18 22.30.12Now we are ready to assemble! Here is my assembly station already to go (except for the wine!).  

2015-04-18 22.41.50First I’ll show you guys how to make the musubi with just the can! Wash the grease from the can and line it with saran wrap. Fill about 1/4 of the can with sushi rice. Pack it in with a spoon, make sure the rice is super-squished in. 

2015-04-18 22.43.16Lay a spam slice on top of the rice layer and fill up the rest of the space with more rice. Wrap up the saran wrap and gently pull it all out. Take the “naked” musubi and place it on top of half sheet of nori (shiny side down) and roll it up! 

2015-04-18 22.43.41While I think the can mold is a brilliant way to do it if you cannot get your hands on a mold. I really do recommend getting one though. You can get it online and I bought this one from the local Japanese grocery store for $3 and it was the best $3 spent!! Made a huge difference in neatness and speed of making them.  

2015-05-17 22.44.23With a mold, you want to set it on top of the nori sheet, slight off center. Again fill it will a little bit of rice. Use the little handle to press the rice layer down flat. 

2015-05-17 22.53.58Place a slice of spam on top, press it down with the mold so it “melds” to the rice better. 

2015-05-17 22.54.26Rice layer #2 and press again. Pushing down on the handle, lift the mold up….

2015-05-17 22.55.32It’s it perfect? Now tightly wrap the nori around it. Dip your finger in a small bowl of water and spread it across the edge of the nori to help it stick and seal close.  2015-05-17 22.55.51As much as I hate waiting to devour these, I’d advise to leave them for about 15 minutes so the nori soaks some moisture from the rice and spam and softens or else your nori will be crunchy and may rip and fall apart when you bite into it.

2015-05-17 23.01.03I like to wrap the musubis in saran wrap so the rice does not dry out and it makes  a really awesome grab-n-go lunch/snack! The musubis should be eaten within a day or two. You should fridge them after a day since it is meat,  but know that if you do -the rice can harden. You can microwave them too- they are really best when warm.

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On nom nom nom. Hope you like it!
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Basil Cream Chicken

This recipe for Basil Cream Chicken is fast and easy, but looks and tastes fancy-pants-y. Great way to make a tasty meal from boring old chicken breasts. Be warned though, definitely not one of those light, healthy recipes! For this recipe you will need:

  • 4 chicken breasts (skinless and boneless)
  • 1/4 cup milk (or plain soy milk)
  • 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs (I got a bag from Trader Joe’s -great buy!)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 4oz jar of pimento peppers, drained (optional)

Start by placing the milk and bread crumbs in two separate shallow bowls.

Dip and cover the chicken breasts in the milk then the coat with bread crumbs evenly.

Heat the butter with medium heat in a shallow pan and pan fry the chicken, flipping it occasionally on each side. Depending on the thickness of the chicken it may take 10-20 mins.

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Remove the chicken and to keep warm I kept them covered with a glass pot cover. Immediately pour 1/2 cup of chicken broth into the pan and heat up. Stir to loosen the leftover bits in the pan.

When it comes to a boil, turn down the heat and add in the heavy cream (and pimentos if you’d like to add those). Stir for 1 minute and turn down the heat to low just enough to keep it warm.

2013-05-22 19.51.21Add in the parmesan cheese, chopped basil, and black pepper. Stir and sniff that wonderful rich smell from the cheese and fresh basil- *sniff* ahhh.

2013-05-22 19.53.44I served the chicken with a side of bowtie pasta – the sauce makes it a perfect combo! And a generous side of steam broccoli to balance out the rich cream sauce, gotta the greens in.

2013-05-22 20.09.23Dinner is served!

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Hawaiian Style Short Ribs

In my never ending quest to search for delicious, yet easy, yet meaty meals for my carnivorous boyfriend, Marta Steward came to the rescue with Hawaiian Style Short Ribs! These sweet spicy ribs are pretty awesome with some jasmine rice and a side of simply steamed veggies or salad.  2014-01-29 17.33.47

Gather up these ingredients:

 

  • 2 red onions, cut into 1-inch wedges, root ends left intact
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs (about 6), cut in 3 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups dark-brown sugar
  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha or other chili sauce
  • 3 cups 1-inch-cubed pineapple (1 pound)

Start by places the colorful red onions, garlic, and ginger in the bottom of your slow cooker. In a bowl- whisk up the brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili sauce. 

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Next tightly pack the beef short ribs over the onions, garlic, and ginger. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the meat evenly. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 4 hours until meat is nice and tender. 

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Add the drained pineapple and cook for 1 more hour. The pineapple provides a citrusy-sweet flavor and gets infused with the flavors of the sauce. 

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It’s hard to resist when the smell is wafting through the house during those 5 hours, but worth the wait. Maybe have a Mai Tai while you wait? 

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Carnivore boyfriend approved. 

A Sweet Thanksgiving

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Last night’s pre-Thanksgiving home made meal: Chicken with Mushroom and White Wine Sauce (Epicurious), Broccolini, Garlicky Red Mash Potatoes (Allrecipes). There was Pumpkin Creme Brulee (William-Sanoma) that followed.

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Yes the two of us ate all four of them….no shame.

A Sweet Thanksgiving

So thankful for my followers and readers! Hope you all have a warm, wonderful Turkey Day full of yummy food and good people.

I made some Delicious Pumpkin Bread last night for tonight’s festivities.

Dr.Pepper Pulled Pork

2013-09-09 20.37.09-1Another slower cooker recipe for you! This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite food truck menu items from The Chairman Truck! If you are in SF, you must hunt down the Coca-Cola Braised Pork Baos -they are eyes-roll-to-the-back-of-your-head delicious. I was fascinated by the idea of cooking meat with soda; the Coca-Cola gave the pork a sweet, slightly crispy  “crust” and I was hooked!

I don’t usually drink sodas, but if I do I love Dr. Pepper. Known for it’s “23 flavors” the unique soda flavor gives this tender pulled pork dish a sweet zing complimenting the BBQ sauce very well.

Serve the pulled pork with fresh cole slaw and pillowy soft King’s Hawaiian bread and you got some yummy sliders! I followed Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork recipe from Serious Eats.

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Start off with all your ingredients:

  • 1 small boneless, skin-off pork shoulder roast, about 2 pounds
  • 1 can of Dr Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 cups store-bought or Kansas City-style barbecue sauce

I had quite a new (challenging experience) with the huge pork shoulder roast I bought, I barely had a knife good enough for the job! First brown the roast at medium-high heat in a pan and transfer to slow cooker. I think I had to cut up the roast and cook the pieces in shifts!

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Pour the Dr. Pepper in the pan and deglaze, let cook for 2 minutes and scrap pan occasionally with spatula. The idea of “cooking” soda was very strange.

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Pour the Dr. Pepper over the meat in the slow cooker. Add in honey, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix well, cover and cook on low for 7 hrs! Walk away, enjoy your day!

2013-09-09 00.46.07 2013-09-09 08.35.06Before and after: look at that beautiful color! After 7 hours, drain off the extra liquid and shred the meat with two forks.  Pour the BBQ sauce and stir. Cover and cook for another 1 hour.

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Perfect for a potluck or picnic!

Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops

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I know, I know this entry is way overdue considering that I made these awesome, succulent Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops for Father’s Day….2 months ago. Yikes. But better late than never I really wanted to share my experience making these. Every year, we usually just take my dad out for a nice dinner, but this year I decided to put a little bit more effort in it and cook Father’s Day dinner. I even research the wine pairing for it. 

I love that this recipe from Food Network came with a video (with an slightly-eccentric Alton Brown) because it was a very lengthy process- but so worth the results. And it’s one of those recipes you really have to plan ahead for, definitely not the kind that you can just “throw together”.

Freshly crushed peppercorns brings the strongly spiced flavor to the pork but will be balanced out by the other ingredients. It will so NOT fun trying to find something to crush these, they kept flying away in every direction.

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Making the brine was pretty intimidating – all that salt and sugar! Heat up the vegetable broth, brown sugar, kosher salt, and peppercorns until the salt and sugar has dissolved. I found out how important it was to have specifically kosher salt. You can not just simply replace kosher salt with regular salt because it will get too salty. Remove it from heat and add ice.

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Good thing my gut told me that my mom’s kitchen was not going to have 2 gallon zip lock bags or else it would have been a midnight run to the grocery store. I wrote the time when I should take them out of the fridge. Refrigerate overnight.

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My priority the next morning was taking the pork chops out of the brine, rinse the salt off really well and pat dry. The recipe said to season again with salt, but I skipped that because I read comments that it was really unnecessary.

Heat up a pan at medium-high heat and panfry the chops until both sides are nice and brown. Feel free to inhale and let your mouth water. You don’t need to make sure it’s cooked thoroughly, just about 5-6 minutes on each side should be good.

Remove and set aside on a plate.

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No need to clean the pan, add a little bit more oil and saute the onions until brown. Pour in the chicken broth to deglaze and add pepper and thyme.

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The slow cooker will be filled with 3 different layers. Layer 1: the dried apples. Oh my gosh I never realized that dried apples were SO hard to find! I went to Safeway and Trader Joe’s and they both did not carry dried apples. My dad actually went to Sprouts and finally found it! Such a precious ingredient! I had to stop myself from snacking on these while cooking because unlike other kinds of dried fruit- these dried apples were soft and sweet like marshmallows.

When the dried apples get cooked, they release a lot of sweetness that compliments the peppercorns perfectly.

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Layer 2: The slightly cooked pork chops. Layer 3: The sauteed onion mixture. Cover and cook on high for about 1.5 hours. Resist the urge to taste because it smells so good. It’s got 4.5 hours left to go! Then…

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I was so excited to try a piece- so tender and full of flavor: slightly sweet and hints of peppercorn.

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  And dinner is served….with an Italian wine, steamed artichoke for appetizer and lemon-pepper asparagus and rice as sides. 2013-06-16 19.42.33

Sour Cream Pork Chops

I am still learning to cook more, especially meat dishes. I decided to venture into cooking pork- something I don’t usually make nor eat. I wanted to use my slow cooker and decided to try Sour Cream Pork Chops from Allrecipes. I definitely an feeling more favorable toward pork chops now.

The only thing about slow cooker cooking is that you have to plan ahead and the process can not be rushed. If you want this for dinner start around 10 or 11 in the morning.

This was not a simple “throw everything into the Crock Pot” kind of recipe, but well worth the extra little steps.

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Season the chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then dredge through 1/2 cup of flour.

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Lightly cook the chops in a skillet with a little bit of oil until it starts browning. I did not really worry too much if it was cooked thoroughly enough because later it’s going to cook in the Crock Pot for hours.

Transfer the chops into the Crock Pot, adding in 1 sliced onion, and 2 cups of hot dissolved chicken bouillon.

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Cover and set at low heat, walk away and try to ignore the mouth-water smells wafting through the kitchen for 7-8 hours.

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After 7-8 hours, I prepared to take the pork chops out. NOTE: The original recipe author did not lie, they are extremely tender and succulent. The meat literally fell off the bone when I tried to take it out of the crock pot! Set aside or keep warmed in the oven.

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To make the sour cream sauce: mix 2 tablespoons of flour into 8 oz of sour cream. Slowly mix into the meat juices left inside the Crock Pot. Cook this on high for 15-30 mins (I only did 15 mins because I couldn’t wait any longer!). The sauce should be thick and cream. Serve over the pork chops.

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Amazingly juicey and full of flavor. Pan frying it is crucial to give it some crispy texture, the rest of the chop is so soft and tender.

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Since the sauce makes it pretty heavy and rich, I like to balance it out with healthy brown rice and some steamed kale or some pasta noodles.

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Yums! So delicious, my boyfriend asked for seconds….and thirds.