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Beef, Dinner, Japanese, Lactose Free, Pork, Recipes, Sandwiches

Japanese Burgers

November 26, 2016

Japanese Burger

The moment I saw this recipe from the New York Times I knew I wanted to make it right away.  I was curious to know why these were called Japanese burgers.  Upon reading the ingredients, panko bread crumbs, soy sauce, and the combination of ground beef and pork, the answer was clear.  The recipe comes from Tadashi Ono, owner of Matsuri restaurant in New York. Tadashi is Japanese.  The article also lists a recipe for wasabi (Japanese!) ketchup to go along with the burger. In the end, it didn’t matter what they called these burgers.  They are so good I just call them “ono burgers!”

Ground Sirloin & Ground Pork

Times market in Kihei sells specific types of excellent ground beef (including sirloin and chuck), rather than the usual generic version. Whole Foods market ground the pork for me while I waited at the counter.

Ground Sirloin & Ground Pork

Panko, Milk, Onion, Soy Sauce

A bit of panko and milk moisten the meat.  Very finely minced onion and soy sauce flavor the ground beef and pork along with a little salt and pepper.

Japanese Burger

These are juicy, moist burgers.  We heated leftover patties wrapped in foil in the toaster oven the following day and they were equally delicious as they were on the first day.  In place of the wasabi ketchup suggested in the article, we opted to mix up sriracha with ketchup because sriracha enhances nearly every food imaginable (pizza, noodles, eggs, mayonnaise, ketchup).

Japanese Burger

Japanese Burgers
Adapted from the New York Times
Serves: 4
  • ½ cup panko
  • ¼ cup 2% or whole milk
  • 10 ounces ground sirloin
  • 10 ounces ground pork
  • ¼ cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1½ teaspoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • sesame oil for coating hands
  • 4 brioche buns for serving
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs and milk and let rest for a few minutes. If the mixture seems too dry add a few extra drops of milk to moisten the bread crumbs.
  2. Add sirloin, pork, onion, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Knead the meat until it becomes sticky and binds together. Divide into 4 equal parts (a scale comes in handy).
  3. Lightly dab your hands with sesame oil. Using your palms, roll each part of the meat into a ball, then pat the ball flat, shifting it from hand to hand to form a ½-inch-thick patty. Make a shallow indentation across the center of the patty to keep it from puffing while it grills.
  4. Grill the burgers, flipping twice, until browned and cooked through with no pink in the middle, about 10 minutes (160 degrees). Serve on buns, topped with spicy ketchup and shredded iceberg lettuce.



Breakfast, Dinner, Eggs, Korean, Lactose Free, Pork, Recipes, Rice Dishes

Kimchi & Spam Fried Rice

June 7, 2016

Kimchi & Spam Fried Rice Kimchi and Spam are staples in many households here in Hawaii.  Crunchy, pungent, spicy, kimchi pairs perfectly with a bowl of steaming rice and Korean hamburger patties.  And Spam?  Well, there are lovers and haters, just as there are for cilantro, Marmite, and anchovies…. Everyone I know loves a bowl of homemade fried rice and most would not turn down this version with kimchi, Spam and a perfectly  fried egg.  Spam may look unappealing straight out of the can, but once fried up into crispy little Spam croutons, it pairs perfectly with rice of any kind.  You ought to give it a try!

KimchiThere is an abundance of kimchi choices at the markets.  Use your favorite brand, but choose one that has a medium heat level rather than mild.

Glorious SPAM!Glorious SPAM!  I always chuckle when I see this little guy on the can.

Crispy Fried SpamFrying the Spam until each piece is perfectly crisp makes all the difference.  You won’t be able to avoid nibbling on them before they make it into the fried rice.

Kimchi & Spam Fried Rice

Kimchi & Spam Fried Rice
Adapted from Kenji's Serious Eats recipe.
Serves: 6
  • 5 cups cooked jasmine rice (I use my rice cooker and the measuring cup that came with it - 2 cups uncooked rice)
  • 1½ cups finely chopped kimchi, about 325g (kimchi drained with 3 tablespoons liquid reserved)
  • canola oil
  • 1 12-ounce can Spam, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 2 cups finely diced onion
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • ⅓ cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  • fried eggs, for serving
  • 1 Fresno chili thinly sliced (optional)
  • Sriracha hot sauce, for serving
  1. Cook rice and let cool completely. I cook my rice in the morning and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. For this dish it is better to use day old rice.
  2. Place kimchi in a mesh strainer set over a bowl. Squeeze out excess liquid (reserve 3 tablespoons liquid). Finely chop kimchi.
  3. Heat a few teaspoons of canola oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add Spam cubes and cook, tossing frequently, until well browned and crisp, about 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Wipe out wok.
  4. Add 2 teaspoons canola oil over medium heat and sauté onions until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir fry for 1 minute.Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  5. Add ½ tablespoon canola oil to wok. Increase heat to medium high and heat until oil just begins to smoke. Add the rice and cook, stirring and tossing, until rice is warmed. Press rice against the sides of the wok to crisp up (like bibimbap and tag dig). Add onion and garlic mixture, kimchi, Spam, and ⅓ cup scallions tossing with rice to combine. Pour in reserved kimchi juice and season generously with black pepper. Add sesame oil, fish sauce and cilantro. Toss to combine.
  6. Serve fried rice in ceramic bowls, topped with a fried egg, reserved 1 tablespoon scallions, Fresno peppers and sriracha sauce.


Dinner, Japanese, Lactose Free, Pork, Recipes, Sauces

Grilled Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin

May 5, 2016

Grilled Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin

Virtually anything grilled with Granny’s teriyaki sauce is terrific.  Sometimes we grill tofu, sometimes chicken, occasionally fish, or in this case for the first time, pork tenderloin.  It’s such an easy meal to whip up on a week night and leftovers are more than welcome the following day.  Pork tenderloin is lean and because of its compact size, it cooks quickly which means dinner is on the table in no time.  A side of Japanese rice and baby bok choy makes the perfect meal.

Pork Tenderloin Marinating

Place the sauce and pork in a bowl, or even better, a Ziplock bag.  Refrigerate for a few hours, turning occasionally.

Grilling Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin

Use a gas or charcoal grill.  This time we used our gas grill and started cooking over indirect heat (to about 95 – 100 degrees internal temperature) then finished over direct heat to 145 degrees, basting occasionally with sauce. Our favorite digital thermometer the Thermapen is essential for perfect doneness. This cooking technique is also known as the reverse sear.  The traditional method is to sear the meat first and finish in the oven or on the grill over indirect heat.  The reverse sear method prevents an over done “gray” rind and the meat cooks more evenly with  a consistent  doneness and color from edge to center. Voila!  In less than half an hour our pork tenderloin is ready.

Grilled Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin


Grilled Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin
Serves: 2 generous servings
  • 1 pork tenderloin, about 1 pound
  • Granny's teriyaki sauce
  • Reserve ¼ cup sauce for basting pork
  • Save remainder for finishing as described below
  1. Trim pork tenderloin removing any visible fat and silver skin. Trim off the ends if they are very thin so that the pork tenderloin is of uniform size. The trimmings can be frozen for another meal (tacos!).
  2. Place pork tenderloin in a Ziplock bag with ½ cup of teriyaki sauce. Seal bag and place in the refrigerator for 3 - 4 hours. Turn bag occasionally so the pork is well marinated.
  3. When you are ready to grill the pork, remove it from the bag and discard marinade. Grill the pork by reverse sear method, basting occasionally with the reserved ¼ cup sauce, until the internal temperature reads 145 degrees on a digital thermometer.
  4. Meanwhile, simmer the reserved teriyaki sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the sauce becomes a bit thick and syrupy. Set aside.
  5. Let pork rest for 5 minutes then slice into ½ inch pieces. Drizzle with teriyaki sauce and serve with rice and steamed bok choy.







Chicken, Dinner, Lactose Free, Pork, Recipes

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Chicken Skewers

November 16, 2015

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Chicken SkewersJohn has been contemplating purchasing a Weber smoker for quite some time.  The decision was made easier by Amazon, which until recently did not offer free shipping to Hawaii.  The first thing we smoked was a fresh turkey breast.  It turned out to be easy and delicious, but we didn’t take any pictures or notes, so we’ll do that another time.  This recipe comes from Jeff’s “smoking-meat” blog.  We’ve made it a couple of times and it is so tasty.  It features a nice hint of smoke, a good barbecue sauce, and tender chicken tucked inside smokey bacon.

Preparing Smoked Bacon Wrapped Chicken SkewersBuy thin or regular cut bacon so that it has a chance to render and crisp up a bit while in the smoker. I cut my bacon strips into three even pieces but if you have larger pieces of chicken you might cut the bacon in half.

Preparing Smoked Bacon Wrapped Chicken Skewers

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Chicken SkewersWe had one lonely piece of bacon left and a couple of potatoes lying around so into the smoker they went.

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Chicken Skewers

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Chicken Skewers
Serves: 6
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs trimmed of any visible fat
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • ⅓ cup of your favorite dry rub
  • 1 pound bacon
  • your favorite barbecue sauce (we like Trader Joe's)
  • wooden skewers
  1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, about 6 pieces per chicken thigh ( 8 if you are using a large chicken thigh)
  2. Place chicken pieces in a Ziplock bag and pour about 3 tablespoons canola oil into the bag. Mix chicken and oil so that the chicken is well coated. Add ⅓ cup of your favorite dry rub to the bag. Massage the bag well so all the chicken pieces are evenly coated with dry rub. Place the bag in your refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  3. Place a piece of bacon on your work surface, top with a piece of marinated chicken, roll and push onto the skewer. Continue to add more bacon & chicken pieces to the skewer, leaving enough space on the skewer for turning during smoking. If you leave a bit of space between each piece of chicken, the bacon tends to crisp up better than if you push the meat together tightly.
  4. Set up your smoker for cooking at 250 degrees. Smoke the chicken for about 1 hour, brush generously with barbecue sauce, and smoke for about 30 minutes longer before removing the from the smoker.




Dinner, Lactose Free, Pork, Recipes

Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Medallions

September 29, 2015

Prosciutto Wrapped Pork TenderloinThis is one of our favorite ways to prepare pork tenderloin.  It’s simple to put together and if you happen to have leftovers, it makes an exceptional sandwich carved thin, stuffed between slices of good bread with a dab of mustard.

Prosciutto Wrapped Pork TenderloinWhole Foods on Maui has a small deli counter where you can request paper-thin slices of prosciutto for this recipe.

Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Herbs, Chili FlakesThe lemony, herby sauce, is ready in just a few minutes.  Mix the ingredients in your serving bowl and set aside until your pork medallions are ready to serve.

Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloin Dinner

Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloin DinnerPotatoes of any kind go well with the pork medallions, or if you prefer, serve the pork with your favorite rice pilaf. French fries are always welcome in our home.

Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Medallions
Recipe type: Main Course
Serves: 4
  • For the sauce:
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • For the pork:
  • 1¼ pound pork tenderloin, trimmed well, sliced into 4 medallions
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 4 slices prosciutto, sliced very thin (folded in half if wide pieces)
  1. Preheat gas grill or prepare charcoal grill to medium-high
  2. Clean grill grate and brush well with oil
  3. Combine all sauce ingredients above. Pour sauce into a shallow dish.
  4. Coat medallions with oil; season with salt and pepper. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each medallion and secure with kitchen string.
  5. Grill medallions, covered, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into centers registers 145 degrees, about 5 minutes per side.
  6. Transfer medallions to prepared dish, flip in sauce, and let rest for 3 or 4 minutes, flipping frequently. Remove strings from medallions and serve with sauce.

Appetizers, Breakfast, Dinner, Lactose Free, Pork, Recipes, Rice Dishes

Spam Musubi

August 12, 2015

Spam MusubiIt’s true.  Every now and then I eat Spam.  Phew!  Now that I got that out-of-the-way, let’s move on to my latest Spam preparation:  The beloved Spam musubi.  Found at local convenience stores, airports, and mom and pop stores, Spam musubi is a tasty snack that travels well in your bag, backpack, and even fits snugly in your pocket.  It’s an island favorite.

Spam & Musubi PressesI have a good laugh every time I see the little man on the Spam can announcing “Glorious Spam!”

Sushi Nori

Favorite FurikakeThere’s a large variety of furikake at the markets.  Salmon, shiso, wasabi, and more.  I favor the simple combination of nori flakes with black and white roasted sesame seeds.  It’s perfect for Spam musubi.

Fried SpamSlice the Spam into eight pieces.  Fry the Spam for a few minutes on each side until lightly browned.

Seasoned SpamAdd your soy sauce mixture and turn the Spam over and over in the sauce to coat well.  This will take just a minute.

Ready for Musubi!Ah, perfectly cooked Spam.

Making Spam MusubiMaking Spam musubi is quick and easy.  Cook the rice, pan fry the Spam, put it all together, press, eat.

Making Spam MusubiI bookmarked this recipe from Serious Eats  years ago and finally got around to making it.  Not all Spam musubis are alike.  This one is a winner.

Spam Musubi

Spam Musubi
Quick and easy snack that packs and travels well. Adapted from Kathy Chan's recipe/Serious Eats blog.
Cuisine: Hawaiian-Style
Serves: 6
  • 2 cups short grain white rice, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 can original or 25% less sodium Spam
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 pieces sushi nori, cut in half lengthwise to make 8 pieces
  • furikake
  1. Slice Spam into 8 equal sized pieces (slice across the longest portion of Spam)
  2. Mix together brown sugar and soy sauce, set aside.
  3. Fry Spam on medium-high heat for a few minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Turn heat down to medium-low, add brown sugar and soy sauce mixture and turn Spam over a few times to coat well. If the pan seems too hot, take it off the burner for a few seconds. You want the soy sauce mixture to caramelize a bit and coat the Spam nicely (watch closely so that it doesn't burn). Remove Spam to a plate to cool.
  4. Lay a piece of nori on a clean work surface. Place musubi shaper on top of the nori (in the center). Scoop enough rice into the musubi shaper to make a thin layer. Press the rice firmly with the musubi compressor. Sprinkle furikake over the rice, add a piece of Spam, more furikake, and lastly, more rice. Press firmly using the musubi compressor. You want the musubi to hold together when you eat it. To remove Spam musubi, hold the shaper and lift it up as you continue to press down on the musubi. Gently remove the compressor (if the rice sticks a bit loosen it with a butter knife). Wrap the nori around the musubi tightly.
  5. Serve right away or wrap and pack for a mid-morning or afternoon snack.



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