I Made Beef Stew in the Instant Pot

"Beef Stew" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO2000
“Beef Stew” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Tonight I made a basic beef stew using our Instant Pot. It turned out pretty good! It doesn’t have a very complex flavor, but its simplicity is the key to its beauty. We had some homemade crusty French baguette for dipping in the rich broth, which was just perfect. (Thanks Mariko!)

I found the Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe at the Life Made Sweeter website, and made a couple small adjustments, by omitting the celery (yuck) and adding some canned peas right at the end. Prep was very easy, but I think it’s better to brown the meat using a pan on the stove since you can finish browning the meat in much less time than it takes using the Instant Pot’s sautee function. However, if you want to save yourself from washing another pan, then you can use the Instant Pot for all the cooking.

I think I’ll search for a stew recipe with more spices, but this one is good to keep in the recipe book(marks). Simple and satisfying. ☺

I hope you had a great day!


Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐 – Another Family Favorite

"Mapo Tofu" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO4000
“Mapo Tofu” Cedar Park, 2019

I love donburi, which is basically a Japanese rice bowl (food served on top of rice in a bowl), and one of my favorite takes on this is mapo tofu. I’m not sure if it’s a “real donburi”, since mapo tofu is Chinese, but I like to have mapo tofu donburi style. It’s great comfort food!

Besides the main ingredient of tofu, Mapo commonly includes ground pork or other ground meat in the spicy sauce. We like to top it with fresh green onion. And of course, I like it spicy so we add red pepper to the mix. 🌶

It’s delicious if you make it from a prepared packet of mapo tofu sauce, but Mariko makes it from scratch (no preservatives). Here’s the recipe (in Japanese) if you want to give it a try!

Cpicon 本格派★四川風麻婆豆腐 by popo

I hope you had a good day!


Fondue Dinner at Home

"Double Cheese" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Double Cheese” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Tonight we had a wonderful fondue dinner at home. We have a family Valentine’s tradition to eat fondue, but because of Mariko’s schedule yesterday, we had to delay it for a night. But we definitely can’t miss our annual fondue dinner!

As always, we have two pots of cheese, one with wine for Mariko and I, and the other with no alcohol for the kiddos. Every year they try the “adult” fondue, and scrunch up their faces at the taste. “Horrible” was heard this time around. But eventually, I think they will prefer the wine and cheese fondue. Until that day, it’s all for Mariko and me!

The ingredients for dipping were simple this year, with a yummy chicken/spinach sausage, potato, broccoli, carrots, and homemade baguette cubes. It was a yummy dinner!

"Bread and Broccoli" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/105 sec, ISO6400
“Bread and Broccoli” Cedar Park, 2019

I hope you had a nice Friday!


Sweet, Deep-fried Chicken Dinner

"Chicken DInner" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/90 sec, ISO6400
“Chicken DInner” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Just a photo tonight of our dinner: deep fried chicken in a sweet sauce, with homemade tartar sauce, shredded cabbage, and potato salad. As you can imagine, it was very, very good! ☺

I hope you had a nice day!


Chili-Gohan (Chili Over Rice)

"Chili Gohan" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/125 sec, ISO2000
“Chili Gohan” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today was a great day because I got to make a big batch of chili. 🌶 We’ve tried a few chili recipes over the years, but the ones we like always have dried Guajillo peppers in it. These give the chili a deep red color and a wonderful flavor. Just be careful because the red color will easily stain clothes!

"Peppers" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO2500
“Peppers” Cedar Park, 2019

Anyways, I usually buy a dozen Guajillo peppers at our local market, then boil them for about 15 minutes to rehydrate them. Next, I put them in our Cuisinart food processor with maybe half a cup of the water, then process until almost smooth. Adding this chili paste to the pot makes it “real” to me. Chili just isn’t the same without it! And I love to make chili because it means I get to pull out our largest Le Creuset pot. Yay!

"Processed Peppers" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO2000
“Processed Peppers” Cedar Park, 2019

With each pot of chili I make, I will adjust with different ingredients, sometimes out of necessity. For instance, this time I didn’t have the can of tomato paste I normally add, so I used some pasta sauce we had in the fridge. And I didn’t have the usual dark beer that the recipe calls for, and I didn’t want to use the IPA we had), so I just used more of the water I boiled the chiles in. I also added a bit of white vinegar and shoyu (soy sauce) to the mix, which is new.

I have to say, it turned out really good! And we have enough to last us a few days. 😄

Bay and I had the chili over steamed rice, with cheese, raw jalapeño, raw habañero (for me), sour cream, and a bit of hot sauce. And a runny egg, of course! Because we put it over rice, we call it “Chili-Gohan”, with the word Gohan being Japanese for rice or meal. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

I hope you had a delicious day!