Miso spaghetti

What do you do when King salmon is on sale at your local grocery store? Look at those fats oozing from the layers of salmon.

This recipe was invented by Z’s mum. It’s really simple to throw together, although one does need a lot of veggies. They are all “rustically cut” though so nobody needs to waste time unnecessarily julienning everything.

Miso Spaghetti recipe:

2 Big red onions : cut into chunks
Red, Yellow capsicums : 1 each – cut into blocks or slices
1 Japanese cucumber : sliced
6 to 10 fresh button mushroom : sliced or cut into blocks
Sugar : 2 teaspoons
Miso paste : 4 tablespoons, dissolved in 6 cups of water and stir well
Squeezed lime : 3 tablespoons (or more, if you prefer it sour)
Mint leaves (optional)
Salmon (amount as desired) : sliced and marinated in teriyaki sauce for 20 min. – Toast separately for 5 min.
Angel hair pasta/capellini amount as desired) : Cook separately

1. Cooking the miso broth mixture
a. Stir fry onions till golden brown.
b. Add capsicums, cucumber and mushrooms and sugar. Stir a minute.
c. Add miso water and bring to boil over gentle fire.
d. Once boiled, add lime juice and turn off fire.
2. Place cooked spaghetti on plates.
3. Top each plate with 1 to 2 slices of salmon.
4. Pour the broth mixture into each plate.
5. Add mint leaves.

I used shiromiso (white miso, milder tasting, less fermented) for the broth, which really brings out the flavours of the cucumber. Japanese cucumber is I think the equivalent of English cucumber here – darker green skin, fewer seeds, thinner body. I also added shrimp and asparagus. You can do this with other fish but I think the best combination is when it is prepared with salmon.

And here was the king salmon that was something like 40% off, i.e. $9.42 for this hunk of wild-caught salmon with the skin on.

It tasted just like we were back in Singapore at the dinner table!


Sad dinner from Taco Del Mar

Thursday nights are homework nights.
Which also means LZ goes out to forage for dinner because I am too busy to cook.

Last week we decided to try Taco Del Mar (in an attempt to mix up our eating out schedule which consists of happy hours/middle-class restaurants with cheaper options like takeouts or fast food).

I like mexican, and I like seafood, so Taco Del Mar sounded like a good idea. I’ve never tried it.

It was, to borrow a phrase from Jon Stewart, mexican food “drenched in human misery”

The ground beef taco salad was soggy by the time it got to my house (5 minutes away) – and I’m pretty sure it started out soggy at the store, the cheese was stringy and not at all melty, the worst part I think was the sour cream that actually clumped.

The fish tacos were even more disappointing (if that was possible). They say they use alaskan white fish, which was basically a glorified fish finger which was barely seasoned/spiced. I guess my expectations of a “fish taco” were a little misplaced with Taco Del Mar. I’m also not very sure why they wrap the meat with two tortillas per taco. When they do that in Taco Bell it’s because they put cheese or mashed beans between the two tortillas, but here each taco is just wrapped with two layers. Why?

I’m not sure I would come back. Even Denny’s (which was the original restaurant described to serve up slamwiches drenched in human misery) has a way better taco salad than whatever they serve here.


Dinner at Tampopo (Takashimaya)

This is the last of the Singapore restaurant posts for a bit. Going through the photos now are pretty torturous, but at least it’s just Japanese food (which I can probably get here) and not like hawker food, which would be even worse.

We ordered an ajitsuke tamago to add on to the crab ramen. It was delicious. I’m glad I can at least make this myself!

Ajitsuke tamago with one bite taken out of it. Look at that ooze. We’ve only had ramen here (in Seattle) once at a restaurant called Boom and they served an onsen tamago with their ramen instead of an ajitsuke tamago. If you have a mega sous vide machine I guess making onsen tamago is easier than ajitsuke.

We tried the wagyu beef and egg croquette as well, and it was magnificent. I would definitely order this again, it was like a beef and egg salad but fried in a mashed potato crust

One of our usual orders, the black pork truffle fried rice. A meal at Tampopo would be incomplete without this.

Just to mix things up we also ordered the baked scallops with mentai mayo and cheese – I would skip this. It wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t the best rendition of mentai mayo anything and the scallops were more like bay scallops rather than the humongous Hokkaido kind.

The crab ramen at the Liang Court branch is slightly better than the one a the Takashimaya branch I think! What is also nice about the Liang Court branch is that one can walk through Fort Canning Park to get to the red line after dinner to work off some of the fats acquired over dinner. Still, a very good seafood broth.


Lunch at the Wildfin American Grill, Issaquah, WA

We came here for a celebratory bite after driving his cousin to the nearby Sammamish to buy a car. (He got an audi, and it’s really swanky for a car that is as old as our Mazda. Heated seats and everything.)

So it was lunch hour and they had a lunch menu (though I don’t think the prices are that different from the dinner menu, just that they have a soup and sandwich offer for lunch)

We started with the macadamia crusted brie, which is served with sliced bread, sliced apple, grapes, and honey. Also drizzled with a balsamic and honey reduction, and it was fantastic.

So fantastic I took 3 shots of it.

macadamia crusted brie, pulled apart – look at that ooze! It was perfect with the honey, although I daresay they could have provided a better quality local honey, but I’m not going to quibble about that. The macadamia taste is also not really apparent, but we all loved the brie and no one’s complaining.

We tried everything with the little flame symbol (which we presume means that it is recommended by the chef or some such). The fish tacos were one of those, which came in a set of three, perfect for sharing! The fish was well spiced (not quite blackened) but had lots of flavour and was smothered in a bunch of chopped salsa-type veggies. Great tacos! Way better than the ones at Taco Del Mar, which use, get this, fish fingers. More on that in another post. I have nothing much against fish fingers just that when I’m buying food outside I’d prefer purchasing something that I cannot make in my own home with a toaster. We’ve even stopped buying breakfast sandwiches in general since I acquired the Hamilton breakfast sandwich maker (the singular most inessential home appliance you can buy when you have no idea what to spend your money on) sometime last year and it pops out breakfast sandwiches perfectly every time. We were walking in Target the other day and guess what’s more decadent than a breakfast sandwich maker? A breakfast sandwich maker that can prepare TWO breakfast sandwiches at the same time, for twice the price:

Remember that sharing is caring! is their motto.

Anyway, what we really liked in the fish taco dish was the mixed corn salad at the side, which is amazingly smoky. Probably made with liquid smoke, but it’s so creative and delicious, and would be easy to replicate at home if you were the sort of person who bought 3 different cultivars of corn whenever you did your groceries.. i.e. nobody.

We had the crab and prawn open faced sandwich, which was really crabby but also used some herb (maybe tarragon?) that I didn’t really fancy. So I wouldn’t order this again, but I gather most people seem to like it.

We also ordered the prawn mac and cheese in lobster sauce with charred broccolini – I would say the lobster flavour isn’t really that strong but this is really good mac and cheese! Not sure why they don’t use crab sauce since well, lobsters are generally found on the other coast and crabs are aplenty here. The mac and cheese is really good though, had nice hunks of prawn dotted throughout and a great creamy sauce and crust. I think the entree size is kind of large, you can also order it as an appetizer (if you’re alone).


Lunch at Fish & Co., Nex, Serangoon

This is one of my guilty pleasures. If not done properly the battered fish comes to your table sopping with oil (but it gets soaked up by the grease paper underneath). I love the melted cheese inside though, and it’s still one of my favourite places for fish and chips

I usually get the New York fish and chips or the Danish one – i.e. either parmesan or mozzarella stuffed in the fish. It’s doused in a delightful garlic lemon butter sauce with parsley.

I got the chocolate milkshake, which was alright I guess but not really worth the calories.

The soup of the day was this terrible fish chowder aka generic cream soup. Skip this. But look how nice their interior decor is – makes me feel like I’m in some seaside town.

I also really like their mussels in garlic butter sauce – the best mussels I think are at the Glass House branch. At any other branch, the mussels have these black organs in them (usually unremoved) but they taste really bad. If you remove them, your mussels will be fine. I think any other restaurant that uses frozen mussels will also have extremely fishy tasting black organs that ought to be removed.
They serve some really nice focaccia with this appetizer though, to sop up all that garlic butter.

I like this place, just wish they had fresher mussels. Like I would probably come back more often if their mussels didn’t smell/taste so off.


Lunch at Grub

Somehow when I go to Grub it’s always rainy which makes for all these poignant, grey pictures. We went on a weekday afternoon, for which they are open now, but with a reduced menu (compared to the weekend brunch menu for example)

We tried their cream of mushroom soup which was rather meh. No blended mushrooms or anything like that.

And then we decided to try two of their burgers! I think this was a mistake.

We had the deep fried fish burger

and the deep fried chicken burger with kaffir lime mayo. In both cases the breading was much too thick and made one really full (there are buns with the meat, but the breading would have sufficed as far as carbs go). The kaffir lime mayo and the tartar sauce is really quite good but there is too little of it.

The mentaiko fries, which were what I came here for, were really good as usual.

And I liked the mentaiko pasta as well, although the dried shrimp was a little tough/chewy so one spends a lot of time chewing through those instead of getting the al dente bite of the pasta.

Recommendation: I still like this place, but I would rather come for weekend brunch, where they have their oeuf en cocotte (which is amazing), and I’d still always order the mentaiko fries. I’d stay away from their burgers though!


Sea salt caramel crepes

Remember this bottle of stove top caramel with pacific sea salt I got from Hot Cakes?

(Hot cakes is the place that had these decadent s’mores bars:

and these bring home and bake in your own oven mason jar organic chocolate lava cakes:

Which are so rich, you need a tall glass of milk (or ice cream :P) to balance the taste. )

I finally opened the bottle of caramel sauce since I had some crepe batter left over from prepping for the women in mathematical science’s potluck (at which I made these:

mushroom and gruyere crepe rolls :D)

and I wanted to make a sea salt caramel and banana crepe.

The caramel sauce was fantastic. Just like toffee.

Thick and luscious and went perfectly with the bananas. Well, not as good as nutella but I guess one could make a nutella and banana crepe and then top it with sea salt caramel sauce! It’s great for drizzling too. The bottle only keeps for 4 months after it’s been opened although I rather doubt we’ll have a problem with that.