K’s Kitchen – Thai Pasta One Pot Wonder

Although pasta is often thought of as a quick and easy dish, I consider it too much effort for me to make on a weeknight.  I have a TEENY kitchen (seriously, it is smaller than you think it is), and I just do not have the space to make a sauce and cook pasta at the same time.  If I do make a pasta dish, I like making a “one pot wonder”, where I can cook the noodles in the sauce.

(adapted from Produce on Parade)
6 ounces pasta (I used linguine)
500ml chicken broth
1/2 carrot, julienned
1/2 red pepper, julienned
1 onion, slice thinly
2 minced garlic clove
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/2 tablespoon gochujang
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon lemongrass paste (I used 3 stalks of dried lemongrass)
1 tablespoon lime juice (I used lemon juice)
chopped cilantro

1. In a large pot, add all the ingredients except for lime juice and cilantro.  If needed, break the pasta in half lengthwise to fit into the pot.

2. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce to a simmer, cook for 10-15 minutes until pasta is cooked and soup is reduced. I tested this recipe a few times and found that I did not need to cover my pot while it cooked, but did need to add a few tablespoons of water at the end to loosen the sauce.  This was easier for me than covering the pot and then reducing the soup.  This may vary depending on your pot, your stovetop, and your pasta.

4. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice and cilantro.

This recipe was very easy and quite delicious. I will be on the hunt for more easy pasta recipes to try.

Hope you enjoyed this recipe!

xoxo, K

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K’s Kitchen – Sour chicken and eggplant

Ever feel like you are too hot and tired to do anything during the summer?  In Japan, we call this  “Natsubate” (夏バテ). “Natsu” (夏) means summer , and “bate” comes from the word “bateru” (バテる), which means “I’m about to collapse from exhaustion”.  Natsubate is a real issue in Japan, and there are many traditional strategies on how to combat it.Everyone knows that you need to eat in order to have energy to do anything, but many people lose their appetites in the heat.  You could eat light foods all day long, but many of these are lacking in protein and vitamins.  One traditional way of making food more appetizing is to use vinegar to give it a light taste.

(adapted from Cookpad)
2 Japanese eggplants
300g chicken thigh meat
salt & pepper to taste
corn or potato starch
sesame seed oil

For the sauce:
100ml rice vinegar
1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
1.5 tablespoons sugar
1.5 tablespoons mirin

1. Chop the eggplants in “rangiri” style.  This is a very typical way to cut up vegetables in Japan, and increases surface area to ensure even cooking. Also, it is supposed to look random although it definitely isn’t.
Here is a video by the Japanese food company Ajinomoto.

2. Keep the cut eggplants under water to prevent discoloration.  Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, and sprinkle with salt and pepper

3. Drain the water from the eggplant.  Lightly coat the eggplant and chicken with starch.  Saute in a frying pan with sesame seed oil.

4. Once the chicken is browned and cooked through, mix the sauce ingredients together and add to the frying pan.  Simmer until reduced.

Although this recipe includes some sugar, it is much less sweet than your typical sweet and sour dish.  The sweetness cuts through the acidity a little, but the dish is meant to taste sour.

Hope you enjoyed this recipe!

xoxo, K

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K’s Kitchen – Peanut Butter Ice Cream

The greatest part of making your own ice cream is that you can make flavors that aren’t available in stores!  I got an urge recently to eat peanut butter ice cream, which is not a flavor I can find easily where I live.  That problem was easily fixed – I just looked around some blogs until I found an ice cream recipe that sounded yummy!

I tend to make only custard-based ice creams. After experimenting with several recipes, I have found that I like making a custard-based ice cream with either milk or soy milk instead of heavy cream.

(adapted from Brown Eyed Baker. Makes around 500ml, or 1 pint)
240 ml  + 120 ml soy milk
70g sugar
45g peanut butter
pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– This recipe has been halved from the original recipe
– The original recipe uses milk and cream, which I substituted with soy milk
– The original recipe specifically uses creamy peanut butter. I used chunky peanut butter because it was what I had on hand, and it worked perfectly well.  If bits of peanuts bother you, use creamy peanut butter.

1. Warm the soy milk (240 ml), sugar, peanut butter, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the peanut butter has melted.

2. Whisk the egg yolks.  Add  60 ml of the warmed milk to the egg yolks in a thin stream, whisking constantly.

3. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan, stir well.  Turn on the stove top to medium heat and stir constantly, scraping the bottom of the pan.

4. When the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon, pour the custard through a sieve and stir into the remaining milk. Stir in the vanilla essence and cool the mixture over an ice bath.

5. When the mixture is cool, cover and put int he refrigerator until completely chilled, at least 8 hours.

6. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker, transfer to a freezer-safe container, and chill until completely solid.

This recipe made a very rich and creamy ice cream.  Brown Eyed Baker has also recently posted a recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly ice cream, which also sounds delicious.

What kind of ice cream are you loving this summer?  Please let me know in the comments section!

xoxo, K

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K’s Kitchen – One pot bacon, tomato, and blue cheese shells

After making last week’s pasta, I got hooked on making “one pot wonders”, where the pasta is cooked together with everything else. I tried out the Bacon, Tomato, and Blue Cheese Shell pasta dish from iVillage, although really – is there any way that this could be not yummy?

To be honest, this pasta dish is more work then the other one.  I used only one pot to make it, but I needed to cook some of the ingredients separately. Cutting everything up and putting it into a pot to cook is much easier.

I also made some changes to the original recipe after I made it the first time. Specifically, I decided to add the tomatoes last, because the tomatoes totally dissolved when I added them earlier.   Next time, I would also use smaller shells then the ones you can see here.

2 strips bacon
250 ml chicken broth
100g shell pasta
120g cherry tomatoes, quartered
30g creamy mild blue cheese
salt & pepper

1. Chop bacon and heat until crispy. Set aside.
2. In the same pot, add broth and bring to a simmer.
3. Add pasta and cook, covered, until pasta is firm. (Be sure to check on it from time to time, and add water if the liquid is reduced too much)
4. Add cheese, cooked bacon, and tomatoes.  Season to taste

This dish is super fast and easy.  It is a great dish if you want some cheesy, bacon-y goodness after a long day at work!

xoxo, K

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K’s Kitchen – One pot spinach and bamboo shoot pasta

After seeing a Buzzfeed post about a one pot pasta dish, I decided to try out the Spinach and Artichoke Wonderpot recipe.  The problem? Artichokes aren’t common in Japan, so I can only get canned artichoke hearts at an imported foods store.  

But hey, I wanted some kind of crunchy vegetable in the dish, so I added bamboo shoots.  Bamboo shoots are a spring vegetable and are commonly found in supermarkets in Japan in this season. Fresh bamboo shoots are extremely bitter and must be precooked.  I bought bamboo shoots which were already prepared.

Ingredients: (adapted from Budget Bytes)
70g mushrooms
100g artichoke hearts (or bamboo shoots, if you’re like me)
1 clove garlic
1/4 onion
300 ml vegetable broth
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
90g fettuccine (I used linguine)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 bundle spinach

1. Slice mushrooms thinly. Drain artichoke hearts and chop roughly. Thinly slice onion and garlic.
2. Place broth, olive oil, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, onion and garlic in a pot. Break pasta in half and add.  Sprinkle herbs on top.  Push ingredients under broth, cover, and bring to a rolling boil.
3. Once the pot reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes while stirring occasionally. Reduce pasta water.
4. Add spinach and toss until wilted.  Serve.

Although the original recipe suggested to cook the pasta covered, this took some adjusting. At the end, you want the liquid in the pot to be reduced so that you have a sauce thickened from the starch in the pasta.  This depends on how much time your pasta needs to be cooked versus how much time it takes for the liquid in your pot to be reduced. It is easier to add then to reduce the liquid, so I add only enough broth so that the pasta is just covered.

This recipe made a nice, thick sauce which stuck to my pasta. The cooking method shown here can be adapted to many sauces, but be sure to reduce the salt from your original recipe to compensate for the salt in the pasta.

Hope you enjoyed this recipe!

xoxo, K

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