Thanksgiving with the Chungs! A Food Network Holiday

This Thanksgiving felt more like a giant science experiment than anything. Since it was only me, my mom and my dad this year, we didn’t make that much food. Our feast consisted of one 14-lb turkey a la the genius, Alton Brown (I love how he smacked down Michael Chiarello for not separating an egg properly), cranberry sauce the Tyler Florence way, and mashed potatoes the..we have a sack of potatoes we don’t know what to do with way. Since the recipes are there for you to follow, all I really wanted to do was show you my science experimenty photos, and also tell you how NOT to mess up a recipe.

BUBBLE AWAY!!!!

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Insane Grilled Cheese Meat Cheese Thing

It’s Thursday evening here in Japan and after an all around crappy day I decided that tonight would be my cheat meal for the week. After conferring with luciables on what I should eat, she suggested I make that “insane grilled cheese meat cheese thing”….which only meant one thing, so here it is. Enjoy.
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Guilt Free Chicken Tenders

It’s Tuesday evening here in Japan, and I wanted some comfort food. Something I really loved as a kid were chicken tenders mmmm….deep fried goodness, which is the exact reason I cannot eat them. In a stroke of genius I found a way to bake chicken tenders and still have that satisfying crunch (I love to crush things) without the extra fat from deep frying. The secret is in the coating.

First I took about 6oz of chicken breast tenders and marinated it in soy milk, poultry seasoning, lemon pepper, paprika, and 1 large egg white. As for the crunchy coating I took about a cup of bran flakes and crushed them into a coarse powder in a food processor (die die die die die die).

*you can see my chopped broccoli ready to go in the steamer basket in the upper right hand corner*

Next I took about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and spread it onto a sheet of tin foil with a paper towel. After dredging each tender in the bran flakes I placed them on the sheet and broiled (I only have a broiler here) them for about 6mins on each side.

Now you can’t have chicken tenders without dipping sauce. I made a super easy and relatively guilt free honey mustard dipping sauce. It calls for 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of mustard, simply mix together, and enjoy!

Chocolate Protein Pancakes

I dunno why but Sunday is pancake day for me. But since I started taking my fitness and nutrition seriously I had to dump the traditional style pancake. My usual Sunday morning pancake is usually made with buckwheat flour and oats, but today I decided to try a different kind. It was very simple and easy to make:

6 egg whites

1 pack of quaker instant oats

2 scoops chocolate flavor whey protein powder

Simply blend all the ingredients until smooth. Unfortunately in Japan, non-stick cooking spray has not caught on, so instead I used a tablespoon of canola oil to coat my non stick pan. Then simply cook like a normal pancake.

As a topping I used 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.The texture really reminded me of a traditional pancake, and I was more than pleased with the flavor. All in all you can still be healthy while having a comfort food such as pancakes. It was an enjoyable treat after my morning cardio workout.

Cooking with Mom: Tuna Salad Sushi

Tuna Salad Sushi is something my mom got out of a Taiwanese cookbook, and I love it. It takes quite a bit of work, but it’s definitely worth it. When my mom first told me what went into this roll, I was pretty skeptical. But then I tasted it, and I was blown away. The pungent onion, crunchy and spicy bell pepper, crisp cucumber, bitter lettuce, creamy avocado and soft tuna combine with the slightly sweet and sour sushi rice to form a magical combination of flavors and textures. I’ll attempt to show you how to make this sushi roll here, since my mom told me to make it myself when I asked her for it. Sadly, I don’t have a video, so my photos will just have to do. >.<

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Luciable’s Chicken Katsu with Egg

Usually, on a gloomy day like today, I’d go to the closest restaurant serving hot soon dubu and have a feast to make myself feel a bit better. Oddly enough, though, I couldn’t wait to get home to make myself a nice, home-cooked meal.

The process of cooking makes me really happy, actually. It’s methodical, you can do whatever the hell you want, and you get to eat the results of your labor. Maybe I just like knowing I can take care of myself, in this small but very important way.

Tonight, I made stir-fried bok choy and pan-fried luciable-style chicken katsu with a fried egg on top. I was able to cook everything and wash the dishes in the time it took the rice to cook. Keep in mind, I’m an eater, not a photographer. >.<

Chicken katsu = what every chicken nugget aspires to be.

The night before, I beat the chicken to a pulp and marinated it in soy sauce, mirin, sesame seed oil (smelled really good!), oyster sauce, white pepper (couldn’t taste), freshly ground pepper (couldn’t taste), paprika (couldn’t taste), garlic powder (MMMM!!) and corn starch (to make it sticky so the bread crumbs would stick on later). (Traditionally, I think you can just flour the chicken, dip it in egg, and then press it in panko crumbs to achieve a crispy katsu crust, but I felt like throwing all the seasonings in my pantry together, so that’s what I did.) When I got home today, all I had to do was panko crumb and pan-fry it.

Panko crumbing was probably the best part of the process. If the crumbs aren’t sticking, all you have to do is mash the meat harder and pretend it’s the face of whoever annoys you. Before you know it, your chicken breast will be perfectly coated in panko goodness. Then, all you have to do is put it in the pan.

The frying part of any recipe seems to be the part where I always screw up. I can boil the shit out of spaghetti and stew the hell out of a tomato, but for some reason the only thing I can fry well is an egg. Oh well. I do love my food crispy, so it’s all good. To check whether or not the chicken’s done, make a fist and poke the fleshy part of your hand between your thumb and curled index finger. If the chicken is as firm as that part of your hand feels, it means the chicken’s done! I always let it rest for a bit on the plate, too, so that the residual heat can finish everything off, just in case.

Why does my fist look like a manly cinnamon roll without the frosting?

And then your meal is done! As much fun as cooking is, eating food is so much better. Although, this post by Marginal Revolution says sandwiches taste better when someone else makes them. Does it only apply to sandwiches, I wonder?

At any rate, what I made tonight put a light finish on my not-so-fun day. I fried up a second katsu egg combo as well, so I can have it in a katsu egg tomato cheese tonkatsu sauce sandwich for lunch tomorrow.

May all of your nights be filled with katsu happiness!