Soy Braised Chicken Wings

Bon Appetit, January 2020 Issue, Pg. 97

So this week’s dinner was meant to be the Soy-Braised Chicken Wings recipe I found in a Bon Appetit issue. I was missing a bunch of ingredients though, so really this a much adjusted version. The cooking instructions are pretty close, but I had to swap a bunch of ingredients and skip a step or two. No complaints though, still a fan of how this turned out!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp five-spice powder
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 12 chicken wings
  • 3 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 4 scallions
  • 5 garlic cloves – 2 minced, 3 smashed
  • 2 Thai bird chilies
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

Instructions

  1. Pour 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tbsp brown sugar, minced garlic, and 1 tsp five spice powder in mixing bowl. Add wings and toss.
  2. Chill wings in fridge for 1 – 8 hours. (I did 1.5hrs).
  3. Add oil to pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Stir in scallions, smashed garlic, chilies for a couple minutes.
  5. Add in cinnamon stick, remaining brown sugar and five spice. Give that a quick stir.
  6. Pour in remaining soy sauce and 3/4 cup water.
  7. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low.
  8. Add in chicken wings. Do not pour in marinade.
  9. Pour rice vinegar over the wings.
  10. Bring to a simmer, cover and let cook for 15 minutes.
  11. Flip chicken over, cover and let cook for another 5 minutes.
  12. Remove chicken and solids (chilies, cinnamon, and smashed garlic).
  13. Continue to cook sauce over high until thickened.
  14. Toss wings back in. Add in extra scallions if you want. Mix until thoroughly coated.
  15. Serve with a side of jasmine rice.

And Voilá! Tasty savory chicken wings! I didn’t have a metal sieve to strain out all the solids before reducing my sauce – so you’ll see all the leftover onions and garlic left things much chunkier than what you see on that Bon Appetit spread. These are so good though, even as modified as they were. They were savory and flavorful without being overly salty. With a little side of white jasmine rice, it was perfecto!

Bee’s Score: 4.5 / 5

My Score: 4 / 5

Happy Eating!

Balsamic Brown Sugar Brussel Sprouts

Does the world need another brussel sprouts recipe? Most definitely not. But is this a food blog? Yes. And did I make brussels for dinner the other night? Yes. So am I going to share out yet another brussel sprouts recipe? You betcha.

Ingredients

  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Brown Sugar
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • Olive oil

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450°.
  2. Half brussel sprouts.
  3. Mince garlic.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, toss brussel sprouts with the minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Just enough olive oil to coat all the brussels, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  5. Spread brussels out in a single layer on a baking pan. Toss in the oven for 20 minutes.
  6. This next step depends on how sweet you want your brussels. You have two options. Pick one! Don’t do both.
    1. Just a touch of sweet: do a quick drizzle of balsamic over the brussels. Stir them around on the baking pan, sprinkle brown sugar over all of them.
    2. In mixing bowl, add 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Mix until you have a paste. Pour in brussels, toss until even coated. Add back into pan.
  7. Bake for another 10 minutes.

The trick to a really crispy brussel sprout is to start really dry. Frozen/defrosted brussels will get steamy and soggy before they cook. Make sure you get non-frozen brussels and dry them really well after washing. Then keep them as spread out as you can on the baking tray – flat sides down to start.

Serve as a side and voila! Crispy delicious brussel sprouts. Sometimes we top them off with a bit of parmesan or cracked red pepper if you’re feeling extra. I’ve made these twice this week already. A well roasted brussel sprout is easily in the top five best veggie dishes, right?

Happy Eating!

Chrissy Teigen’s Pot Pie Soup

Hi friends!

SKIP TO RECIPE

It has literally been a year since my last blog post – oops? What can I say, sometimes life gets away from you. Anyway, hope you’ve all been well and safe, especially in these hard-times. I’m not going to lie, for the first half of this shelter-in-place business, I was doing a lot of takeout and frozen pizzas. I was eating my feelings, don’t judge me. But then, my little sister moved in with me and I figured I should really be feeding her something other than fried chicken. Maybe even a vegetable or two. Coincidentally, we happened to watch Julie & Julia the first week she was here, which made me realize that for all the cookbooks and food magazines that I collect…. I haven’t used a single recipe from one.

So now, I’m on my own Julie & Julia adventure minus the Julia Childs bit and the super aggressive pace. BUT I do want to try making one or two recipes from my cookbooks each week, starting with (surprise surprise) Pot Pie Soup from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings.

I don’t want to be one of those scroll-for-ten-years-before-you-get-to-the-recipe bloggers, so I’ll try to always post the recipe or share a link right at the top. This seems to be a pretty widely made one, so you don’t have to buy the book to try it.

Full Disclaimer – I cheated. Instead of making the pot pie crackers, I just bought a sheet of puff pastry, cut those into little squares, and popped them in the oven instead. But even without the crackers, this soup was wonderful. It tasted exactly like a pot pie, but a creamier, richer version. Huge fan.

Five-ish years ago, I went to Texas for the first time and the very first meal I had there was a pot pie. It was served in a little dish with a little pocket of crust right on top instead of as a traditional pie. This recipe reminded me so much of that. That trip wasn’t the greatest, but that pot pie sure was. This soup is just as good.

The Good

  • Great for meal prep – reheats deliciously!
  • Doesn’t take too long to whip up once you’ve got all the ingredients diced up

The Bad

  • Little sister ate all my Tums after this. All that butter = heartburn

Has anyone else tried any other recipes from Cravings? Any recommendations? If you’ve made this one, is it worth doing again with the full from-scratch crackers?

Bee’s Score: 2/5 for Heartburn, “Too Creamy”

My Score: 4/5

Happy Eating!

Ramen in Santa Monica, Finally!

Let’s talk for a second about how deprived Santa Monica has been when it comes to really damn good asian food. I’ve worked there on-and-off for the past five years. While there’s no shortage of green juices, if you get bit by the noodle bug, you’re shit out of luck. Better make the drive out to Sawtelle or Venice because there’s no ramen here for you my friend. 

However, in the past year, SM’s finally got its act together and opened not one, but two new ramen spots right off the main promenade. 

Silverlake Ramen

Silverlake Ramen is a chain hailing from (yup, you guessed it) Silverlake, CA! From the chain itself: 

“Silverlake embodies the free-spirit & casual vibe of Los Angeles. An unpretentious, original way of thinking. Similar to the  environment in which ramen was invented. Now, we are taking that vibe and serving up bowls of it in locations across California.”

I haven’t tried the regular ramen because I will honestly always choose the thick noodles and rich broth of a tseukemen first if it’s on the menu. That being said, the tseukemen is delicious! Tsujita is the gold-standard in my book, but Silverlake Ramen comes pretty damn close. The broth is deep with flavor and tastes amazing with the huge slab of fried pork belly it comes with. I always ask for a side order of spicy paste to mix in, too. Fair warning, you’re in for a heavy, salty AF lunch with this one. 

Ippudo Ramen

Just a five minute walk away, you’ll find Ippudo Ramen tucked into a non-descript alleyway on second street. Look for the small square sign with the squiggles, that’s your cue that ramen time is near. This Japanese chain made the big move to the States in 2008 with its New York location, shortly followed by its San Francisco one. 

Their ramen is more Hakata style. While there are slight variations (vegan, spicy, etc), they’re all more or less the same.  Expect thin noodles, a somewhat lighter broth, but no less in flavor or oil.  They do appetizers too, but honestly, skip the buns. They’re not worth the money and your tummy space is better spent on Kaedama (extra noodles).  My personal favorite is the Akamaru Modern.

Which is better? Honestly, it’s impossible to decide. They’re different styles and both hit the ramen spot perfectly! I’m so sad I don’t work right on that corner anymore. Maybe it’s better for my blood pressure anyways.

Bon Shabu | Koreatown

Eating out can be really difficult when you’re trying to lose weight. Shabu shabu or hotpot, however, is probably one of the tastiest ways to treat yourself in a healthier way. If you haven’t done shabu before, it’s a pretty easy concept. You get a pot of broth on a stove top as well as an assortment of raw meats, veggies or noodles to cook in it. Imagine fondue but clean and soupier. Typically, you can mix and match sauces on the side to add extra flavor. My personal favorites are a garlicky ponzu and goma, a deliciously creamy goma sauce.

Unfortunately, there’s not a ton of shabu places on my side of town. A quick 30 minute drive out to K-town though means plenty to choose from. My sister was in town visiting her boyfriend so they swooped up and we headed out to Bon Shabu!

They do a split pot, so we got half Organic Beef Bone Broth and half Spicy Original. The spicy one had a kick to start, while the beef bone was really light in flavor. We dropped in a bunch of crab to start though and by the end of the night, with all the meat dipped in, it was a slightly sweet, deep flavor. Yum!

It’s AYCE so we tried pretty much all of the meats minus the chicken and basa fish. Most of the cuts were really lean. If you want tender, fattier cuts, go with the pork collar, pork belly, or the chuck top blade. On top of that, there’s a shrimp, mussels, crab, crawfish, fish balls, squid, ramen, udon and an assortment of vegetables – all available salad bar style.

One of my favorite parts was that they offered a bunch of Korean appetizers on the side. My favorites were the tangy fried chicken and the tteokboki!

Shabu’s one of my favorite all-time meals and I can’t wait to go back again! Or maybe I’ll venture out to somewhere new. Where are your go-to spots?

Vietnamese Braised Pork & Eggs | Recipe

My momma is probably one, if not the biggest, reason why I grew up to be such a food addict. Almost all my memories with her growing up took place in the kitchen or around food. She loves to cook. Sure, she had her traditional Vietnamese staples, but she also tried to recreate any dish she enjoyed or found intriguing (thanks Food Network). We had fish tacos every weekend for three months until she was satisfied with her recipe. Ha! But today’s recipe is not one of those. This is actually one of those aforementioned traditional Vietnamese staples. It’s something she would whip together on a regular ‘ole day and it was never a point of excitement as a kid.

Having grown up and moved out, it’s somewhat of a rarity to eat it now. It’s not commonly served in Vietnamese restaurants and definitely not at the trendy ones you can find on the westside. It’s a homecooked family meal through and through. Without further ado, here’s Mama Nguyen’s thịt kho trứng, or in other words, braised pork and eggs.

Ingredients

  • 1 – 1 1/2 lb. of fresh pork belly or pork ribs
  •  6 to 8 eggs
  •  1 can Natural Coconut Flavored Soda (COCO RICO)
  •  Salt
  • Sugar
  • Black pepper
  • Cooking oil

Directions

Let’s get cooking!

Boil the eggs for 10 minutes, turn off the heat, but leave the eggs in the pot for another 5 minutes.  Then, place the eggs in a cold water to cool them down. Peel the eggs and use a tooth pick to poke a few holes all around each egg. We want all the delicious seasoning to be able to seep in.

thit kho 1

Next, rinse off your cut of pork and pat it dry with a paper towel. Cut the pork into approximately one and a half inch squares. Sprinkle with some salt and black pepper.

thit kho 2

Okay, so flip on your stovetop fans or open a window because it’s time to make our caramel! Which inevitably leads to some smoke rising off and if you’re in a teeny tiny Los Angeles apartment like me with the world’s most sensitive smoke alarm, you’ll want to pop a window or two.

Add 1 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp of sugar to the dry pot and cook on high heat, stirring frequently until the sugar melts into a light brown liquid.

thit kho 4

Quickly, stir in all the meat so the caramel doesn’t burn on the bottom. Caramel goes from delightful to smoky burnt rather quickly, so if you think you’re going to be a bit slow with the meat, feel free to flip off the heat, stir the meat in, then turn it back up.

thit kho 6

When all the pieces of the meat turn light brown,  pour in the full can of coconut soda and two cups of water. Sprinkle in a teaspoon of salt, a quarter teaspoon of black pepper and one tablespoon sugar. Cover the pot.

thit kho 7

As soon as the pot begins boiling, uncover it and skim away all the white foam off the surface. Add in the eggs and cover the pot once more. Bring the heat back down to low and let the dish simmer for about an hour, hour and a half – or until the water reduces almost to the bottom of the pot. This step largely depends on personal preference. If you like thicker sauce, allow it to cook for longer. Just know that leaner cuts of meat can dry out a little if you do. If you like a thinner, wetter sauce, take it off the heat sooner.

thit kho 10

As always, season to taste as you go! This usually is enough for our family of five, so share with friends or you’re set with meal prep for the week. Traditionally, this dish is paired with rice (Mama says nothing beats white rice) and a pickled vegetable dish. Recipes for how to make those coming soon! Until then, happy eating!

Modifications

Keto? Swap out all the sugar for stevia or erythritol and you’ll be good to go. Stick with the fattier pork belly to longer sustenance. You can get diet coco rico or maybe try a coconut flavored sparkling water instead, though you’ll have to up your other sweeteners to compensate for the sugar.

Want it even lower cal? Switch out pork belly for a much leaner cut like the rib or shoulder even.

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 2.12.00 PM

Want to bookmark on Genius Kitchen? Here you go!