Posts tagged ‘pork’

Marmalade Glazed Ham

My family never ate ham that much growing up (probably something to do with the face that my dad’s a vegetarian. just a guess), and we never really had a traditional Easter dinner that we ate every year.

Since there was no prerequisite foods that I needed to make, I was able to make whatever I wanted, hehe. I’ve never been a big fan of pork, but I do like ham, so in the end I decided to make an Easter ham.

Having never prepared a whole ham, I turned to the expertise of Martha Stewart. Good ol’ Martha. She never lets me down.
I used her Marmalade Glazed Ham recipe, and I have to say, it was awesome. Easy, and awesome.

I meant to take a picture of some of the sliced ham on my plate with the other food, but by that time I was so hungry that I just wanted to eat. Maybe next time. 😉

You can check out Martha’s original recipe here, or read my take on it below.

Marmalade Glazed Ham

(serves 8)


  • 1 smoked bone-in ham (about 10 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade (5 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 navel orange
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cover ham with parchment paper and then aluminum foil. Place ham, widest side down, on a heavy rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat marmalade, sherry, lemon juice, and juice of 1/2 the orange until runny, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove ham from oven, and completely remove parchment paper and foil. Score ham all over in a diamond pattern. Brush 1/2 of the glaze over ham. Thinly slice remaining 1/2 orange, and arrange slices over glaze, covering the ham. Use toothpicks to secure.
  5. Increase temperature to 425° F. Bake ham, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  6. Brush with remaining glaze, and bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more.
  7. Let rest for 15 to 30 minutes before slicing. Top with orange slices, and serve.


April 18, 2012 at 8:19 am Leave a comment

Spicy Chipotle Pulled Pork


Although I hate to admit it, I have very little experience cooking large cuts of meat.

My family just doesn’t usually eat that much meat. When we do have meat, it’s usually small pieces of meat in something or ground meat. When I’m really craving something meaty, it normally ends up being either a hamburger or meatloaf that I want.

I recently, however, decided I wanted to try making pulled pork for the first time. To some it may seem shocking that as much as I love to cook, I don’t have a go to pulled pork recipe… or any pulled pork recipe for that matter. In fact, I don’t know if I’d ever even had pulled pork before I made this… Terrible, I know.

My mom and I watched an episode of the Pioneer Woman recently, and watched her make a very simple, but very delicious looking pulled pork recipe. I decided I would try my hand at it, because I like to try cooking new things, and, well, it just looked really really good.

And it was! It was easy, but oh so delicious! Everyone (except my poor vegetarian dad who couldn’t eat any) loved it! It has to cook low and slow, but it only involves about 5 ingredients, and can be thrown together so fast. If you want to impress your family and friends with a big meal, this is the recipe for you!

You can find the recipe on the Pioneer Woman’s website here.

Served with garlic green beans, baked Japanese sweet potatoes, and homemade bread. The perfect Sunday Lunch.

February 8, 2012 at 2:06 am Leave a comment

Yakiniku – Grilled Meat Japanese Style

Hello all!

Last night, Hisa’s family took Hisa and I out to a yakiniku restaurant (there’s a grill in your table, and you grill meat right at your table and eat it) for dinner. It was fun, and the food was great, but I’ve only been to a yakiniku restaurant in Japan once before that I recall, so I found myself a bit lost when it came to yakiniku etiquette. I managed to discover a few things in the process of dinner last night, however.

1) Yakiniku restaurants will make your clothes, hair, and very skin smell of grilled meat and smoke. I Febrezed my coat last night and hung it up to air out, but I think the smell is still lingering…

2) There’s no niceties with yakiniku. It’s eat or be eaten. Everybody would continually add meat to the grill when some was eaten, and I found myself not really knowing what meat was done cooking, and what meat was still a little raw (beef I’m okay with generally, but under-cooked pork and especially chicken freak me out). As a result, while I was a bit confused and hesitating, much of the meat was eaten up by my husband and sister-in-law. Opps.

3) I’m not a big fan of either cow tongue or cow liver. The was it works is you order whatever cuts of meat you want, and they bring them out on plates (it’s always cut into thin slices), and you grill it at the table. My husband ordered the cow tongue, so I thought I would try it. It looks like regular beef when cooked, but it tastes slightly different and is a bit….chewy. Not bad, but I think I’ll stick to more familiar cuts of beef in the future.

My father-in-law, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law

Me, Hisa, my adorable niece, and her mom (my sister-in-law). My brother-in-law was still at work and couldn’t come unfortunately.

Grillin’ away!

Adding meat, flipping meat, eating meat. I was a bit lost.

Next time (whenever that is), I think I’ll have a better idea of what to do. Or I can just steal all my husband’s meat, haha!

December 5, 2011 at 10:37 am Leave a comment

Mabo Dofu (tofu and ground meat in a spicy chili sauce)

If you have no clue what mabo dofu is (you poor soul, you), it’s a delicious Chinese dish that consists of mainly tofu and a little bit of ground beef or pork in a spicy chili sauce. It’s very popular here in Japan, although as the Japanese tend to avoid overly spicy dishes, the Japanese version tends to be not spicy at all.

I’ve had this dish a million times, but I’d been wanting to try to make it myself. I’m still not too familiar with cooking many Chinese dishes, so I wasn’t sure how well this would turn out, but when I finally got around to making mabo dofu last night, the result turned out to be better than I’d expected! It was great actually!


Mabo Dofu (serves 2 – 3)

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 lb ground beef or pork
  • 1/4 c. leek or scallions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. ginger paste or grated ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. tobanjan (a Chinese fermented spicy bean paste available in most Asian grocery stores)
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. cooking sake
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 c. broth (chicken, beef, veggie, doesn’t matter which)
  • 12 – 15 oz. tofu (1 package) firm or soft, cut into cubes
  • 1 Tbsp. corn starch dissolved into 1 1/2 Tbsp. cold water
  1. Heat oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Add the ground beef/pork and cook until almost completely browned.
  2. Add the scallions, garlic, and ginger paste and cook for another minute. Add the tobanjan and cook for another minute. Add the soy sauce, cooking sake, and sugar, and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the chicken broth and mix well. Adjust seasoning to taste. If you want it spicier, add more tobanjan.
  4. Add the tofu and mix well. Cook until everything is heated through. Add the corn starch dissolved in water, and stir continuously until sauce thickens. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

I served the mabo dofu with a vegetable stir-fry and steamed rice.


September 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm Leave a comment

Japanese Gyoza (a.k.a. pot stickers)

My husband and I have been having a kind of famous 80’s movies marathon the past several Saturdays. We often rent and watch a DVD on Saturday night (like all truly fabulous and exciting married couples do), but recently we keep checking out famous 80’s movies.

For three Saturdays in a row, we watched all the Back to the Future movies (Hello! McFly!), and this last Saturday, we watched The Goonies. Included on the DVD for The Goonies was the music video for Cyndi Lauper’s Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a really long, really 80’s music video, which is all good and fun, except that I’ve had the song stuck in my head now ever since we watched it. Today is Wednesday. That was four days ago. I’ve had “It’s gooood enooouuuugh! Good enough for meeeee, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!” running through my head over and over and over…. it’s not fun having Cyndi Lauper stuck in your head. It just isn’t. Trust me on this.

For whatever reason, I get songs stuck in my head incredibly easily. It drives me crazy. If you know of a tried and true method for getting songs stuck in one’s head out, please share. Please?

But that’s not really the point of this post. I just felt the need to share my current Cyndi Lauper plight with you.

What the point of this post really is, is gyoza. In the U.S., they’re often called pot stickers, and in China, jiaozi. I just call them delicious little hot dumplings filled with meat and vegetables, because that’s what they are.

Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my chin.

Having lived in Japan for three and a half years, I’m more familiar with the Japanese version, gyoza. You can find them at any grocery store, ramen place, or Chinese restaurant. Everyone loves gyoza. Kids, adults, grandparents. It’s hard not to love these scrumptious little dumplings though.

The Japanese version is made with a thin, round wrapper, and usually filled with ground pork, hakusai (Chinese cabbage), and nira (Chinese chives), along with various seasonings. They’re usually pan-fried on the flat side of the gyoza, creating a partially crispy skin. Then water is added, the pan is covered and the gyoza are steamed until they’re completely cooked through. To eat, they’re dipped in a soy sauce & vinegar (and sometimes also chili oil) sauce.

Wrapping the gyoza can be time consuming, so I don’t make them often, but I’ve been craving gyoza recently, so I decided to make them for dinner last night.

First, get all your ingredients together. Here, from top to bottom, left to right, I have garlic powder, ginger paste, soy sauce, ground meat, salt, pepper, hakusai (Chinese cabbage), nira (Chinese chives), an egg, and the wrappers. Although gyoza are almost always make with ground pork in Japan, you can use just about any ground meat you want for these. This time, I used a mixture of beef and pork.

Dice up about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of hakusai. If you can’t find Chinese cabbage where you live, normal cabbage works just fine.

Add the diced hakusai to the bowl with the meat. Next, dice the nira (Chinese chives), and throw those in as well. If you can’t find Chinese chives, green onions will work fine.

Add in 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 Tablespoon ginger paste, 2 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce, and a dash of salt and pepper, then mix it all up.

Don’t forget to add your egg, and mix some more!

For this next part, you need a small bowl of water, several plates covered with wax paper (or a cookie sheet with wax paper), your bowl of gyoza filling, and the wrappers. I recommend doing this at the table where you can sit down, because, basically, you’re gonna be there awhile wrapping these things.

Spoon a small amount (about a tablespoon) of the filling into the center of a wrapper. Is it just me, or does my hand look unusually red?

Dip you finger into the bowl of water, and then use it to moisten the outer edge of the wrapper. If you don’t do this, the sides of the wrapper won’t stick together, and your gyoza won’t stay closed.

Fold the wrapper in half. As the next part of this requires two hands, I was unable to get a picture of the process. What you do, is you pleat one side of the wrapper, squeezing each pleat against the opposite side of the wrapper as you make it, sealing in the filling and closing the gyoza. It takes some practice, but it’s not that hard once you get the hang of it.

Here’s what it looks like when it’s done. Just continue wrapping gyoza until you run out of the filling…

…and eventually you’ll have a bunch of gyoza ready to be cooked. If you have two packages of 20 wrappers, you’ll probably have some left over. These are great for letting your imagination run wild, and filling them with all different things. Here are some ideas for filling: Jam, peanut butter and jam, peanut butter and banana, chocolate (or nutella) and banana, cheese, ham and cheese, avocado and tomato, etc.

I had some ham on hand, so I simply put some shredded cheese on a piece of sliced ham, rolled it up, cut it in half, and used one half per gyoza wrapper.

Now, after I made all the gyoza, I went about doing other things, and by the time I actually cooked them, I kinda forgot to take any pictures. Bad me. But the process is simple.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet on medium heat. Place the gyoza in the skillet, flat side down and so they’re not touching, and cook until the gyoza get brown on the bottom, about 4 – 5 minutes.

Next, get a glass of about 1/2 cup of water in one hand and a lid for the skillet in the other. Quickly pour the water in the pan and then cover it with the lid. It’ll make a lot of noise, but you cover the skillet, so it doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t hiss, then your pan isn’t hot enough, and you need to up the heat. Let the gyoza steam in the skillet until they’re completely cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.

When finished cooking, remove the gyoza to a plate, and serve them with a dipping sauce of soy sauce and vinegar. Enjoy the wonderful dumpling goodness!

I served the gyoza along with steamed rice, miso soup, and a mixed salad. And just so you don’t think we’re pigs, my husband and I only ate about half of all those gyoza. Oh, and the ham and cheese gyoza were really good. 🙂

Mmmmmm, gyozaaaa

Japanese Gyoza (makes about 34)  recipe by Rachel (The Joyful Kitchen)


  • 1 lb ground pork, beef, or mix (about 450 grams)
  • 1 1/2 2 cups diced hakusai (Chinese cabbage or regular cabbage)
  • About 5 nira (Chinese chives or green onions), diced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • gyoza wrappers (available in most grocery stores)

In a large bowl, add ground meat, hakusai, nira, garlic powder, ginger paste, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and egg, and mix.

Place a small spoonful (about 1 Tbsp) of the meat mixture in the center of one wrapper. Moisten the outer edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half without joining the two sides. Pleat one side of the wrapper, squeezing each pleat against the opposite side of the wrapper as you make it, sealing in the filling and closing the gyoza. Continue wrapping gyoza until you use up all the meat mixture.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place gyoza in skillet, flat side down, and so not touching. Cook gyoza until the bottoms turn brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Pour about half a cup of water into the skillet and quickly cover with a lid. If it doesn’t sizzle loudly when you add the water, then you’re pan isn’t hot enough, and you need to increase the heat. Continue cooking the gyoza in the covered skilled until they’re cooked completely through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a plate, and serve.

March 9, 2011 at 5:05 pm 2 comments

About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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