Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Chashu is Japanese BBQ pork. It's extremely delicious and tender. It's great by itself, but it's also the perfect pork to add to your ramen. This is the last piece of the puzzle before I put out my ramen recipe. I hope the wait has been worth it!

This recipe calls for using a unique piece of hardware called an otoshibuta. An otoshibuta helps your food cook in a steam environment, but allows enough vapor loss to reduce a sauce. It's placed directly on the cooking liquid, which helps keep big bubbles from forming so delicate foods aren't broken apart.

Don't worry, I don't have one either, but it's extremely easy to make one out of parchment paper and here is a link to the instructions. I don't recommend making one out of tin foil because aluminum and acid doesn't mix well.


1 lb pork belly
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
¾ c water
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
½ cup sake
¼ cup dark brown or demerara sugar
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 scallions, sliced
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
2" piece of ginger, sliced


Salt both sides of the pork belly. Pour the olive oil into a cast iron skillet and heat over medium-high heat until the oil starts to lightly smoke. Lay the pork belly in the oil, fat side down, and sear for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Flip and repeat. Remove from the skillet and let it rest.

In a heavy-bottom pot, like a dutch oven, add the remaining ingredients and the pork belly. Bring the whole thing to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover with the otoshibuta and simmer for 1 hour, turning the pork over every 10 minutes.

After an hour, you should have a thick sauce. Roll the pork belly in the sauce to make sure you have even coverage on all sides. Take it out of the pot and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes before slicing thin and serving by itself, over noodles, or with ramen.

For some added flavor and color, lightly sear under a boiler or with a propane or culinary torch.

If you plan on storing for later, place your slices in a zip-top bag with the remaining sauce. Make sure you get most of the air out so the slices get good, even coverage. They should keep for about a week in the fridge.

To reheat, just pour your piping hot ramen broth on top or lightly sear in a medium-heat skillet.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Miso Soup

Earlier I wrote about wanting to make my own ramen, which means I had to start with making dashi, a Japanese seafood stock. Once I'd made that, it was just a little bit more to make miso soup so I decided to try my hand at that too.

Like plenty of Japanese cooking, this isn't about using a lot of ingredients, it's about making the most from a few. It's about balance. In miso soup, you are balancing savory with salty and smooth with crunchy.

Serves: 1
Cook time: 10 min


2 cups dashi
1.5 tbsp white miso
½ tbsp red miso
1 scallion
3 oz firm silken tofu


Bring your dashi to a simmer and pour ¼ cup into a bowl. Add the red and white miso into the same bowl and stir well until all lumps are gone. Pour the miso mixture back into the rest of the dashi and heat on low to keep warm.

Cut your scallions into small slices and your tofu into small cubes and place in the bottom of your soup bowl, mug, or bucket. Pour the hot broth in and let sit for a minute to allow the tofu to warm up before enjoying with some sake or green tea!

Please note: the combination of miso flavors is up to you. White miso is lighter in color and flavor but has good body and mild sweetness. Red miso is much more flavorful, but too much will have your soup tasting like soy sauce. This 3:1 ratio is my preferred ratio, but feel free to experiment to find what you like.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Like most of my generation, I spent a lot of time in college eating ramen. Ever since then, I've wanted to make my own from scratch, which, for most ramens, means starting with dashi. Dashi is an extremely simple seafood stock that is the base of many Japanese soups, but it's also great for sipping on if you've got a cold or need something to warm you up.

This recipe is sized for a single serving and is about as small a batch as you might want to make. This means it should be easy to scale up for any application.

Cook time: 20 min.
Serves: 1


2 cups cold water
1 gram kombu (approx 2"x4.5")
5 grams bonito flakes (about ½ cup)


Place the kombu into a small saucepan and pour two cups of cold water over it. Put over medium heat and cover for about 10 minutes. Remove the kombu just before it starts to simmer. I wait for bubbles to form on the bottom and take it out just before they start to break. If the kombu boils, it can turn bitter.
When the bottom of your saucepan looks like this, it's time to remove the kombu.

Add the bonito flakes to the water and bring it to a simmer. Hold at a simmer for 1 minute. If it simmers for too long, it will make the stock cloudy as the flakes fall apart. After 1 minute, remove from the heat and let it steep for 7 minutes. Strain and add enough water to bring it back to two cups.

Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week or portion and freeze for up to a month. Large portions can be used as a soup base while small portions can help fortify sauces and stir-fries.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bourbon Maple Peppery Salmon

I think my favorite thing about crispy skin salmon is that it looks quite impressive, but it's actually quite easy. This recipe takes advantage of the fact that maple goes surprisingly well with all different kinds of peppers. I'm still using my amazing bourbon maple syrup, but don't worry, this one works brilliantly with regular syrup too.

Since I've already put up a more in-depth guide on how to make crispy skin salmon, I'm not going to bore you with repeating all the details (just the basics here). I'll simply leave a link to the previous recipe here in case you need a refresher.


4-6 oz salmon filet with the skin on
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp bourbon aged maple syrup
⅛ tsp red pepper flake
⅛ tsp ground white pepper


Lightly score the skin of the salmon and salt and pepper both sides. Pour the olive oil into a cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. While the oil heats up, mix together the syrup, red pepper and white pepper.

Once the oil is shimmering, place the salmon in the pan, skin-side down, making sure to lay it away from you. When the salmon is in the pan, give the pan a little shake to keep the skin from sticking.

Once the salmon is cooked about three-quarters of the way through, flip onto the flesh side and lightly brush the skin side with the peppery syrup. After 30 seconds, flip the salmon out onto a plate and brush the flesh side with the remaining syrup.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Dark Side Shot

Yesterday was Star Wars Day, but today is the Revenge of the 5th. I wanted to make a drink in celebration. My Dark Side Shot is nearly black with just a hint of red. It goes down easy, just like succumbing to the Dark Side of the Force.

½ oz kahlua
1 oz raspberry schnapps

Pour the kahlua and schnapps into a shot glass and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Bourbon Maple Glazed Bacon

For Easter, my mother-in-law gave me a bottle of bourbon aged maple syrup. It was amazing. I've already used it up and bought a second. So, expect to see it featured in plenty of upcoming recipes. One of the first things I thought of when I tasted it was bacon. I'd never glazed my own bacon and every time I baked bacon, it turned out wrong. Now, after a little experimentation, I've come up with a method I like.


8 or 9 strips of thick cut bacon
2 oz bourbon aged maple syrup


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While you oven heats up, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a cooling rack on top.
Lay your bacon on the rack and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the fat is rendered and the bacon is starting to brown. Remove from the oven. There will be a lot of liquid fat in the pan so be careful and feel free to drain it off.

Brush one side of the bacon with the coats of the maple syrup and then bake for 3-5 minutes. Remove again from the oven, flip the bacon, and brush the other side with another two coats before baking an additional 3 minutes or until desired crispiness. My wife likes hers nearly burnt while I like mine with a little flop.

Remove from the oven and let cool, though I recommend not letting the bacon cool entirely on the rack because the maple syrup will adhere the bacon to the rack.

This bacon is amazing by itself, with eggs, or even a cheese platter.