Tabletop Dinner for Two☆ #7

Filed under:Pork,Potato,Tabletop Dinner for Two☆ — posted by IOjaw on March 28, 2006 @ 9:30 pm

Here is a simple scratch meal that requires very little preparation time, Portuguese Sausage & Veggie Dinner:

Portuguese Sausage & Veggie Dinner

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For the Portuguese Sausage & Veggie Platter, we chose sausage, potatoes, and cabbage:

Portuguese Sausage & Veggie Platter

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Using an electric skillet, begin with the potatoes and simply fry in butter. Sprinkle with a little white pepper. Add the sausage and remaining desired vegetables. Once fried, a little whole mustard and/or soy sauce can be added to individual servings for flavor. Also, the raw broccoli and cauliflower can double as pre-entrée appetizers using a dipping sauce. (Hubby and I used Sesame Thousand Island dressing mixed with mayonnaise and horseradish for the dipping sauce.)

Fried Portuguese Sausage & Veggies

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Tabletop Dinner for Two☆ #6

Filed under:Bread,Cheese,Crockpot/Crockette,Pork,Tabletop Dinner for Two☆ — posted by IOjaw on March 24, 2006 @ 12:21 am

Here’s a way to have a relaxing fondue meal without worrying about an open flame, Crockette Fondue:

Crockette Fondue

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Approximately one hour prior to serving, begin preheating by placing 2 cups of water in the Crockette (mini slow cooker) and heating on high. When you are ready to serve the fondue, empty the water from the Crockette and transfer prepared fondue cheese into the mini slow cooker. Place the Crockette on a table and plug into an electric outlet. Serve with a prepared Fondue Platter.

Crockette Fondue Platter

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For our platter we chose bread pieces, raw broccoli, raw cauliflower, raw carrot, and bratwurst.

(NOTE: Because we could not find Gruyere cheese this time, we used a prepackaged fondue cheese product found in a local supermarket. This was a real time and energy saver because all that was required to prepare the product was to heat it in the microwave for three minutes. The flavor was not that bad at all – which surprised us because we had tried a prepackaged fondue cheese product two years ago without much satisfaction.)

Tabletop Dinner for Two☆ #5

Filed under:Bean,Rice,Seafood,Tabletop Dinner for Two☆ — posted by IOjaw on March 22, 2006 @ 12:31 am

This meal is neither your traditional beer-battered fish and chips nor your traditional tenpura. Instead, I came up with a meal that is a little of both worlds, Asian Beer Batter Niblet Dinner:

Asian Beer Batter Niblet Dinner

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Ingredients for the meal consisted of cooked rice sprinkled with crushed toasted sesame seeds, miso soup, 2 cups of freshly-made beer batter, and an Asian Beer Batter Niblet Platter:

Asian Beer Batter Niblet Platter

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1 large Russian red fish fillet (cut into bite-size pieces)
6 shitake mushrooms
10 fresh green beans
10 fresh shiso leaves
10 fresh basil leaves
10 slices of carrot
1 medium zucchini (sliced)

Rinse a pat dry vegetables. Then simply coat the ingredients thoroughly in the beer batter (a few at a time) and cook in a mini deep fryer until golden brown. We also added some nori sheets to the meal as a side munchie and soy sauce as a dipping sauce.

(NOTE: Although this doesn’t look like much food, the platter actually ended-up making enough niblets for 3 – 4 persons.)

Tabletop Dinner for Two☆ #4

Filed under:Pork,Seafood,Tabletop Dinner for Two☆ — posted by IOjaw on February 21, 2006 @ 9:46 pm

This is a simple meal that can be served almost anytime of the day:


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Hubby brought this premixed okonomiyaki (Japanese Combination Pancake) set back from his trip to Osaka (a city renown throughout Japan for their particular expertise in the meal).

Okonomiyaki Set

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To the premix, we added sliced pork, dried krill, squid-flavored deep-fried tenpura batter droplets, three eggs, 120cc water, grated cabbage and carrot mix, Japanese mayonnaise, and pickled ginger.

Okonomiyaki Platter

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This is a very simple meal to prepare:

Mix the prepackaged batter powder, eggs, and water until smooth. Then add the krill, tenpura droplets, and veggie mix.

Place the pork on the electric skillet in four sections and brown on one side.

Ladle the batter mixture onto the skillet in four sections (one at a time) and place the pork on top of the sections (uncooked side facing up). Let cook until slightly brown (approximately five minutes), flip and continue to cook for approximately ten minutes (or until pork and batter are thoroughly cooked).

Top with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, seaweed flakes, pickled ginger, and shredded dried bonito (fish).

Tabletop Okonomiyaki

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There are many different methods used to prepare okonomiyaki. If you prefer to cook from scratch, here is one way.

Tabletop Dinner for Two☆ #3

Filed under:Beef,Cheese,Pork,Rice,Tabletop Dinner for Two☆ — posted by IOjaw on February 20, 2006 @ 10:44 pm

Here is another versatile option for a relaxing dinner for two:

Teriyak iDinner

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Tabletop Teriyaki Dinner

An electric skillet makes it easy to turn any tabletop into an instant mock izakaya. For our dinner we chose beef (marinated in teriyaki sauce), mushrooms, leek, veggies and cheese rolled in pork, cabbage, and greens accompanied by miso soup and rice topped with grated sesame seeds.

Teriyaki Platter

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Tabletop Dinner for Two☆ #2

Filed under:Chicken,Rice,Tabletop Dinner for Two☆ — posted by IOjaw on February 9, 2006 @ 11:24 pm

It’s Grammy night. Hubby and I felt like being able to relax at the dinner table and munch away while watching the show. Sooo, here’s another tabletop dinner idea:

Tabletop Veggie Tenpura Dinner

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Tabletop Veggie Tenpura Dinner

You can use almost any type of vegetable in which ever proportions meet your needs.

Veggie Tenpura Platter

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For our platter we used:
1/2 medium onion (thinly sliced)
1/2 medium carrot (julienned)
1/2 bunch nira (according to hubby this is a veggie similar to chives that is a cross between garlic and onion)
1 small bell pepper (julienned)
Frozen chicken wings (semi-defrosted)
Frozen chicken nuggets (semi-defrosted)
3 tablespoons freshly snipped basil

Veggie Tenpura Batter Bowl

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For the batter we used:
1 egg
250 milliliters iced water
1 1/3 cups tenpura flour

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk egg and water together. Fold in flour, but only to the point of moistness. (The batter looks like lumpy and slightly runny cake batter, but you can adjust the amount of flour to reach your desire consistency.)

Mini Deep Fryer

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Other equipment needed:
Deep fryer

Heat oil in deep fryer as suggested by manufacturer.
Meanwhile, thoroughly toss one-third of veggies in batter.
When oil is ready, alternate cooking between chosen meat and battered veggies. Beginning with the items that require longest cooking period. (I use a laddle to spoon the veggies into the deep fryer).

Veggie Tenpura Frying

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For this dinner menu we also chose to include rice (sprinkled lightly with soy sauce) and nori (dried seaweed) as extra munchies to the main platter.

You can use home fries or any other favorite food item that goes well with deep fried foods. You could even include miso soup as a beverage. This dinner course is very flexible.

Tabletop Dinner for Two☆ #1

Filed under:Crockpot/Crockette,Seafood,Tabletop Dinner for Two☆,Tofu — posted by IOjaw on January 31, 2006 @ 11:06 pm

I often sing the praises of one of my favorite household appliances around this time every year, the kotatsu or table heater. Tonight I’ll show one of the advantages of having such a convenient and energy saving item in the house. This recipe is one variation on a very popular wintertime dish in Japan:

Kani (Crab) Nabe for Two

Kani Nabe

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Nabe Dashi

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3 cups water
1 ½ pieces dashi konbu (a variety of seaweed) – break as needed

Dashi Konbu

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6 pieces musubi konbu (another variety of seaweed)

Musubi Konbu

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1/3 cup katsuo dashi (liquid type)

Katsuo Dashi and Mirin

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1 tablespoon mirin
½ teaspoon minced ginger


Kani Nabe Platter

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Crab legs (halved)
Shungiku (spring chrysanthemum stems) – cut into large chunks
Nametake mushrooms
Shironegi (leek) – cut into 1 inch pieces
1 block Shimadofu (tofu) – cubed
Chinese cabbage – cut into large chunks

Other Items Needed

Nabe Pot

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1 ceramic nabe pot with lid
1 crockette (mini-slow cooker)
1 portable tabletop butane burner

I began in an unconventional way by using a crockette (mini-slow cooker) to prepare the dashi. I did this for three reasons:

• Hubby’s schedule is so spontaneous; we have a hard time setting specific timetables for meals.
• It’s my belief that stocks taste better when given lengthy steeping periods.
• I don’t like having to stand over or repeatedly check the stove while the stock is steeping.

Place the water, dashi conbu, and musubi conbu in the crockette and cover.
After four hours remove two-thirds of the dashi conbu. Leave the remaining one-third for additional flavor.
Stir in katsuo dashi, mirin, and ginger. Cover and let continue to cook for at least another four hours.

You can prepare the platter at your convenience and place in the refrigerator, if needed. I usually start preparations approximately one-half hour prior to setting table for dinner.

Tabletop Dinner for Two

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At dinnertime, prepare the table with the tabletop burner, eating utensils, and individual bowls.
Place the platter on the table.
Transfer two-thirds of dashi and musubi conbu to the nabe pot. Place the pot on the tabletop burner and add small portions of each item of the platter. Cover with the nabe pot lid and let come to a low boil. (Veggies are done when slightly soft to the touch. Crab is done when red in color.)

Serve cooked items combined in individual bowls accompanied by a small amount of dashi liquid.

After dinner, strain any remaining dashi liquid into a container. Remove the final one-third dashi konbu from the crockette. Add the crockette liquid to the container and store in refrigerator or freezer to use as starter dashi for the next time you prepare nabe.

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