Ramen with Charred Pork Recipe

My son, Bruce, has been watching a Japanese animated TV series where the main character attends culinary school. In various episodes, the 15 year old boy challenges and is challenged by other students to see who’s the best Freshman chef. At the end of the season, there is a big tournament. Sounds a lot like Iron Chef. Bruce really enjoyed the episodes, and as a result, expressed interest in preparing a meal for the family. Yay! He researched and chose Ramen with Charred Pork recipe from Food Network Magazine. Pretty ambitious for his first time. How did it turn out? I thought the soup was excellent. Fresh ingredients and flavorful. And the broth was not overly seasoned or salty. The most challenging thing for Bruce was timing the cooking of the noodles, pork, broth and eggs. Lots of things needed to happen at once. So if you’re in the mood for a delicious challenge, give this ramen recipe a try. Enjoy!



  1. Combine the chicken broth, 2 1/2 cups water, the sliced ginger, 3 smashed garlic cloves, 2 cut-up scallions, the shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce and rice wine in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, covered, until the mushrooms are soft and the broth is flavorful, 35 to 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the hoisin sauce, sesame oil, minced ginger, minced garlic, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper in a medium bowl. Prick the pork chops all over with a fork and add to the bowl; turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature, 15 to 20 minutes. 
  3. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high. Grill the pork chops until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. (*I interceded at this point and suggested cooking the pork for longer. I’m glad I did. Otherwise, the pork would have been seriously undercooked.) Remove to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Thinly slice the pork chops.
  4. Bring a separate large pot of water to a boil. Gently add the eggs in their shells, return to a simmer and cook 6 1/2 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Peel the eggs and cut in half. 
  5. Return the pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as the label directs, stirring often. Drain and divide among 4 bowls.
  6. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a separate pot. Add the spinach and stir to wilt slightly. Ladle the broth and spinach over the noodles and top with the pork, sliced scallions and eggs; season with shichimi togarashi. (We didn’t have the seasoning.)


Ramen with Charred Pork Recipe2021-03-11T15:54:07-06:00

We Made Homemade Sushi

For the first time ever, we made sushi the other night. We used smoked salmon and cooked shrimp, and it turned out delicious. The rolls didn’t look as perfect as the ones at Restaurant Muramoto, but I was pleased nonetheless. For guidance, we followed the directions on the back of the Organic Pacific Sushi Nori (edible seaweed) package. It was a fun family activity and definitely a learning experience. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.


10 sheets Emerald Cove Organic Sushi Nori

2 cups sushi rice (we used white long grain rice and it didn’t work very well)

2 1/4 cups water

1/4 cup brown rice vinegar (we used regular rice vinegar)

1/2 tbsp sugar

1/2 tbsp salt (we used 1/2 tsp)

a bamboo mat or thick cloth napkin (We used a cloth napkin, and I feel that the rigidity of a bamboo mat would be preferable. I will pick one up the next time we make sushi.)


Rice Preparation

Rinse and drain rice in water three times or until rinse water is clear. Allow the rice to rest for about 30 minutes. Add 2 1/4 cups water and a pinch of salt to a pot, then bring to boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until rice has absorbed almost all the water. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes before removing cover. Mix sugar, salt and vinegar and pour over rice. Stir rice thoroughly but gently with wooden fork or bamboo rice paddle. Rice is ready to use when it has cooled to room temperature. (Do not refrigerate, as this will harden rice, making it impossible to roll.)

* Since I used regular long grain white rice, I used 2 cups of rice and 3 cups of water. Simmering time was double almost triple the time. 



Any combination of long, thin slices of avocado, cucumber, carrot, daikon, cooked burdock root, tofu, raw sashimi-style fish, cooked shrimp, egg, chicken . . .whatever you wish. Garnish with umeboshi paste, pickled ginger, wasabi, toasted sesame seeds or your own favorite.

* We used avocado, cooked shrimp, smoked salmon, cucumber, carrot and wasabi. I really wish we had some pickled ginger.


Rolling the Sushi

Place nori sheet on bamboo mat or napkin. Wet hands in cold, salted water to prevent rice from sticking to them. Spread rice evenly over the nori about 3/8 inch thick, covering all but a two inch strip along the farthest edge from you. (Be careful that you don’t spread rice too close along side edges.)

Lay first choice of fillings in a row at the near edge and add garnish.

Moisten the far edge of the nori with fingers dipped in water, and roll the mat firmly. Remove the mat as you go, and press the moistened end edge against the roll to seal. 

Place the roll seam side down, moisten knife to prevent sticking, and carefully slice roll into 6 to 8 pieces. (Make sure you are using a sharp knife.) To serve, pour shoyu or tamari in a shallow bowl to dip sushi slices in. 


We Made Homemade Sushi2021-02-26T13:59:57-06:00

Colombian Ajiaco (Chicken and Potato Soup)

With 4-5 inches of snow expected today, it is definitely soup weather. Yesterday I perused the December issue of the Willy Street Co-op Reader and looked at the recipe section. The Chicken and Potato Soup recipe looked great. We had most of the ingredients, so I didn’t need to go to the grocery store. As always, we made some adjustments for taste and what was available. It turned out absolutely delicious. Enjoy!



1.5 pounds boneless skinless thigh meat, chopped (recipe called for breast meat, but I prefer the flavor of dark meat)

1 yellow onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt (recipe called for 1 tbsp)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp ground black pepper

4 cups chicken stock

1.5 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped

1.5 cups corn kernels

1 green onion, chopped (recipe called for a bunch, but we didn’t have that much)

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

2 tbsp dried oregano

2 avocadoes, cut into cubes

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (recipe called for sour cream)



Place chicken in a casserole dish and top with the onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. (Recipe suggests 8 to 24 hours.)  

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken with the garlic and onion and brown for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chicken stock and raise heat to high. Bring to boil, then lower to medium-low heat and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is tender.   

[At this point we made a significant change. The recipe calls for removing the chicken and then cooking the potatoes in the pot of cooking liquid. This is followed by adding some of the herbs and vegetables, then removing/discarding some of the vegetation and then returning the chicken to the pot. I find this entirely unnecessary and wasteful.]

While the chicken was simmering, we peeled and chopped the potatoes. To save time, we microwaved the potatoes for a few minutes. Just enough so that a fork or knife could penetrate. 

We stir in the potatoes, corn, green onion and oregano. Cook for about 20 minutes.

Serve the soup with avocado and yogurt. (The recipe suggests garnishing with 2 tbsp capers. We left that out.) 

Colombian Ajiaco (Chicken and Potato Soup)2021-01-14T09:48:49-06:00

Chicken Marsala Recipe

As the smell of Marsala wine, chicken, butter and mushrooms waft through the house, my boys run into the kitchen and ask rhetorically if I’m making Chicken Marsala. I answer, Yes. Then my son, Bruce, asks if we’re having it with flat egg noodles. Those are his favorite. Of course, I say. He smiles, looks into the skillet, inhales deeply, and leaves the room with a big smile on his face. Chicken Marsala looks like a fancy recipe, but it is super easy. Prep time is around 15 minutes and cook time is 30 to 45 minutes. I adapted this recipe from chef Emeril Lagasse on FoodNetwork.com. 





  1. In a shallow bowl or plate combine the flour and Essence and stir to combine thoroughly. Dredge the chicken thighs in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook the chicken thighs until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.
  3. Add the mushrooms on top of the chicken and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are golden brown around the edges and have given off their liquid.
  4. Add the chicken stock and Marsala wine to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the sauce has thickened slightly, lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

* The original recipe called for twice as much butter. I think it’s rich enough since the dish is prepared in olive oil and there is some fat from the thigh meat.

* The original recipe called for removing the chicken from the skillet and then adding them back in. I am too lazy and also like to make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through. Don’t worry, the chicken will not get rubbery if it cooks longer since it is immersed in a wine/chicken stock mixture. 


Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning)

Chicken Marsala Recipe2020-11-03T10:04:20-06:00

Dessert Anyone? How About a Blackberry Cobbler Recipe?

I like desserts. I mean, I really like desserts. They aren’t cheat foods to me because that implies that I’m doing something bad or wrong or breaking a rule. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe in cheat foods or cheat days. That’s not a healthy approach to living a healthy lifestyle. It’s all about balance and moderation, not deprivation and restriction, right? In my opinion, there is no problem having a dessert once in a while. How about a fresh fruit cobbler? We made this blackberry cobbler recently and it turned out great. Piping hot and delicious. It’s simple to prepare and uses only a handful of ingredients. You can make this with other fruits like peaches, cherries, blueberries, apple and more! Enjoy!


Part A: Biscuit Topper

1 cup sifted all purpose flour

2 tbsp sugar (optional)

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter 

1/4 cup milk

1 beaten egg


Part B: Pie Filling

1/2 cup sugar (white or brown) 

2 tbsp cornstarch or flour

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

4 cups blackberries (picked from our garden)

1 tbsp lemon juice



Part A. In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add milk and egg, stirring just to moisten. Then set aside. 

Part B. In a pot, stir ingredients together and cook over medium heat for about five minutes until thick and bubbly.

Pour filling into 10″ pie pan. (We prefer 10″ over a 8″ or 9″ so filling doesn’t bubble over and make a mess.) Spoon on biscuit topper in five or six mounds. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Dessert Anyone? How About a Blackberry Cobbler Recipe?2020-10-21T10:49:42-05:00

Tomato Panzanella Salad Recipe (by Windset Farms)

Summer is the perfect time of year for potato salad. Lucky for us, the Costco magazine came out and featured this unique recipe. Very different from your typical potato and mayo mixture.

As always, feel free to change the amounts and kinds of ingredients based on your taste, dietary restrictions and what you have in the fridge. Enjoy!


1 cup rice wine vinegar (*we used 1/3 cup)

1 cup honey (*we used 1/3 cup)

2 pounds baby bell peppers, sliced

2 pounds multicolor potatoes, cooked until soft

1/2 cup olive oil, divided (*we used 1/4 cup)

12 ounces grape/cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 cup radishes, sliced

2 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (we used 2 tbsp)

1/2 cup feta cheese

4 basil leaves, torn  

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

salt to taste



  1. Bring rice wine and honey to boil over medium heat; pour over sliced peppers.
  2. Smash the new potatoes. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add potatoes and cook 1 to 2 minutes each side. Place potatoes, tomatoes, radishes and peppers in a bowl with remaining oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt.
  3. Sprinkle with chunks of feta cheese, basil and parsley. Ready to serve! 

* We reduced the amounts of vinegar and oil, and I’m glad we did. There was plenty of dressing coating all of the ingredients. If we had used the full amounts, they would have been swimming in the bowl.

Tomato Panzanella Salad Recipe (by Windset Farms)2020-07-20T18:12:13-05:00

Kyle and Bruce Made Dinner!

With my three boys all being home and doing online school, they have a lot of free time. What better way to fill that free time than with chores :-)  Last weekend, Kyle and Bruce made Pasta Salad, Bison Burgers and Homemade Buns. Everything turned out delicious.  If you’re wondering what Roy was doing . . . he was supervising.

Here are the 3 recipes. Enjoy!


Bruce’s Pasta Salad


16 ounces whole wheat Penne pasta, uncooked

1 cup broccoli, chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup black olives, sliced

3 ounces sliced pepperoni

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste



  1. In a large pot, add 4-5 quarts of water and bring to boil. Add pasta and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until al dente. Strain pasta and rinse under cold water to stop cooking process.
  2. In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta, broccoli, tomatoes, olives, pepperoni, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss gently. Sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.


Kyle’s Hamburger Buns (from AllRecipes.com)


1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast. (If you have a jar of yeast, use 2 1/4 tsp)

1 pound all-purpose flour, divided

1 cup warm water (105 degrees F)

1 large egg

3 tbsp butter, melted

3 tbsp white sugar

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp olive oil

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp milk

1 tsp sesame seeds



  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place yeast into bowl of a large stand mixer; whisk in 1/2 cup flour and warm water until smooth. Let stand until mixture is foamy, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Whisk 1 egg, melted butter, sugar, and salt thoroughly into yeast mixture. Add remaining flour (about 3 cups).
  4. Fit a dough hook onto stand mixer and knead the dough on low speed until soft and sticky, 5 to 6 minutes. Scrape sides if needed. Poke and prod the dough with a silicone spatula; if large amounts of dough stick to the spatula, add a little more flour.
  5. Transfer dough onto a floured work surface; dough will be sticky and elastic but not stick to your fingers. Form the dough lightly into a smooth, round shape, gently tucking loose ends underneath.
  6. Wipe out stand mixer bowl, drizzle olive oil into the bowl, and turn dough over in the bowl several times to coat surface thinly with oil. Cover bowl with aluminum foil. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.
  7. Transfer dough to a floured work surface and pat to flatten bubbles and form into a slightly rounded rectangle of dough about 5×10 inches and about 1/2 inch thick. Dust dough lightly with flour if needed. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a round shape, gently tucking ends underneath as before.
  8. Use your hands to gently pat and stretch the dough rounds into flat disc shapes about 1/2 inch thick. Arrange buns about 1/2 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Dust buns very lightly with flour. Drape a piece of plastic wrap over the baking sheet (do not seal tightly). Let buns rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  10. Beat 1 egg with milk in a small bowl, using a fork, until mixture is thoroughly combined. Very gently and lightly brush tops of buns with egg wash without deflating the risen dough. (You might have extra egg wash.) Sprinkle each bun with sesame seeds.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned on top, 15 to 17 minutes. Buns will stick together slightly where they touch. Let cool completely, tear the buns apart, and slice in half crosswise to serve.


Bruce’s Bison Burgers


1 pound ground bison burger

4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, sliced



  1. Heat oven, griddle, pan or grill. We used a George Foreman Grill.
  2. Form ground meat into five 3-ounce bison patties. (Someone must have gotten a 4-ounce burger. I think it was me.)
  3. Cook on Foreman Grill for 4 minutes. (Remember a Foreman Grill cooks food on both sides at the same time.)
  4. Remove patties from grill and immediately top with sliced cheese. Heat of burgers will melt the cheese.


Chefs Bruce and Kyle

Kyle and Bruce Made Dinner!2020-05-22T16:26:46-05:00

Wisconsin Stone Soup Recipe

Do you ever feel like you’re cooking for an army? In my house, with five very active individuals, it sure feels that way. That’s where soups and stews come in handy. They are often easy to prepare and make plenty of servings.  If you’re more of a crock pot person, this recipe will work great too. And remember, you can always adjust amounts of ingredients for personal taste. Since we used a smoked ham hock, for example, we didn’t add any herbs or spices other than two bay leaves. Enjoy this delicious recipe! (This recipe was adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Magazine.)


1 cup dried black-eyed peas 

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups onion, diced (1 yellow, 1 red)

1 cup carrots, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

6-8 cups chicken stock

1 meaty ham hock (approximately 1 pound)

2 bay leaves

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 cups cubed pumpkin

1/4 – 1/2 cup rice, uncooked

2 cups hearty greens (kale or collards, fresh or frozen)



1 cup cubed rutabaga

salt and pepper to taste

ham instead of ham hock

If you don’t have pumpkin, you can use squash, sweet potato or other root vegetable.



1. Soak and cook dried beans according to directions. Rinse well. If using canned beans, open and rinse well. Set aside.

2. In a large stock pot, set heat to medium and add olive oil.  Saute garlic, onion, celery and carrots until soft.

3. To pot, add stock, ham hock, bay leaves, diced tomatoes, cubed pumpkin and rice. Bring to boil briefly. Then cover and simmer for one hour.

4.  Add cooked beans and hearty greens. Cook until beans are warm and greens are wilted. Approximately 10 minutes. 

Serve and enjoy!


Wisconsin Stone Soup Recipe2020-05-11T11:56:38-05:00

Pearl Couscous Salad

Looking for an alternative to rice, pasta or quinoa? Then check out our Pearl Couscous Salad that we made yesterday. Makes for a great appetizer, side dish or a snack on its own. Super tasty and filling. Every bite is flavorful and the couscous has a pleasant chewy texture.  The prep time is only 20 minutes, and the cook time is just 30 minutes. You can do that. (Adapted from Allrecipes.com)


3 tbs olive oil, divided

2 cups pearl couscous

2 1/2 cup water

1/2 cup French lentils

2 tomatoes, diced

1 small cucumber, diced

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup dried goji berries, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes to hydrate [original recipe called for 1/2 cup dried cranberries]

1 tsp dried chives

1 tbsp fresh flat parsley, chopped

1 tsp ground sumac


1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp honey

salt and pepper to taste



  1. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir couscous in the hot oil until toasted and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups water to couscous and bring to boil; cover skillet and cook until couscous is tender, about 10 minutes. Rinse couscous in a colander with cold water and transfer to a bowl. Mix 2 tbs olive oil into couscous and stir to coat.
  2. Place lentils in a small pan and cover with water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and rinse lentils under cold water in a colander; add to couscous
  3. Mix tomatoes, cucumbers, raisins, goji berries, chives, parsley, and sumac into couscous-lentil mixture.
  4. For dressing, beat 1/4 olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper together in a bowl; pour over couscous-lentil mixture and stir until coated. Refrigerate salad for flavors to blend, 8 hours to overnight.
Pearl Couscous Salad2020-03-12T14:22:56-05:00

Chicken and Barley Soup with Root Vegetables

It’s cold, overcast and I’m hungry. Plus I have another child home from school with a cold. I hear my mom’s voice in my head. She says “Make chicken soup. The broth is good for them.” Mom’s Jedi powers are strong. I defrost some chicken, chop up some veggies and we’re good to go. Chicken soup is simmering on the stovetop, and Heather just said “It smells soooo good.” Thanks, Mom. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!


1.5 pounds chicken meat (breast and/or thigh), chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium rutabaga, chopped

3 parsnips, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, diced

8 ounces brown and white mushroom, chopped

10 cups chicken broth

1 tsp parsley, sage and thyme

1 whole bay leaf

1/2 cup pearl barley

salt and pepper to taste



Add olive oil to a large soup pot. Set heat to medium-high, then add chopped chicken meat. Stir frequently to make sure chicken is thoroughly cooked and does not burn. Once chicken is no loner pink (about 10 minutes), add onions, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms, parsley, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Once onions begin to sweat, add the rutabaga and parsnips. Then add the chicken broth and bay leaf and bring to boil. Once boiling, set heat to low, add barley, stir and cover. Let cook for 30 minutes. Ready to eat!

Another fantastic one pot meal!

Chicken and Barley Soup with Root Vegetables2020-01-30T13:33:18-06:00
Go to Top