Oyster Sauce and Eggs: Versatility!

Before becoming accustomed to un-American foods, you could never have convinced me to eat something like oyster sauce. Even though I believed myself a consumer of just about anything, my scope was rather limited when I think about it.

Brussels sprouts? Sure! Asparagus? No problem. Poached eggs? As long as they didn’t have Hollandaise sauce, great!

Pickled duck eggs? Nope. Headcheese? I’ll slice it for you, but don’t expect me to eat it. Vegemite? It’s black. Are humans even supposed to eat black things? Entrails? Nah, I’m good.

So, why oyster sauce? It’s versatile! And you can enjoy its handiness in the recipe below from one of my most used books.  It comes from one of Japan’s popular food networks, Orange Page (Japanese only).

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Pork and Eggplant with Garlic Oyster Sauce
(豚肉となすのにんにくオイスター炒め)

150g thinly sliced pork / 豚こま切れ肉 150g
3 (or about 300g) eggplant, thickly cut /  なす(大) 3個、大きく切れ
2 green bell peppers, chopped / ピーマン 2個、短く切れ
1 clove of grated garlic / にんにく 1かけ、おろし

Sauce
2 Tbsp. oyster sauce /  オイスターソース 2 大さじ
1 tsp. sugar, rice vinegar /   砂糖、酢 1名小さじ

Serving size: 2

Coat your frying pan with sesame seed oil and fry up the pork first. When it’s about half-way done, throw in your fixings, adding the sauce after it’s all done. Once coated, cook for another minute or two until you’re satisfied. I added napa cabbage to mine for a bigger veggie boost.

Another versatile food item is the humble egg. Many countries have egg-based dishes and when you’re looking to have a change in your breakfast menu, I recommend scrambles. I like to think they’re wholesomely American as they can be catered to just about any taste. I even remember an ex-boyfriend making french toast flavored eggs for his son!

Here’s my take:

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Scrambled Eggs with Vegetables

2 eggs / 卵 2個
1 Tbsp. milk / 牛乳 1大さじ
2 slices of onion, chopped / 玉ねぎスライス 2枚、短く切れ
1 green bell pepper, chopped / ピーマン 1個、短く切れ
Large chunks of bacon / ベーコン、大きく切れ
3 white mushrooms, sliced / マッシュルーム 3個、スライスで

Serving size: 1-2

Warm up some oil in your frying pan. While it’s heating up, whip up the eggs and milk. When your pan is hot, start cooking the vegetables and bacon up. **NOTE: If you’re using raw bacon, cook that first!** When they’re just about al dente, pour in the eggs and scramble away!

Seasoning is optional. I used salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin.

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Both of these recipes are useful for amateur cooks (like myself) and don’t take any time at all. Try them out for yourself and let me know down in the comments below what you think!

goodbye

Muffin’ Meats Meatmoaf

Nothing beats meatloaf. It’s one of the biggest comfort foods in America and when it came time to wrangling my cravings here in Japan, I was stumped. I couldn’t imagine walking into the supermarket and finding the Wall of Spice Packets for the Lazy Cook (though there are some hanging from an endcap somewhere – my favorite is for tandori chicken!).

It can be daunting for expats that have very little knowledge on how to cook. Gone are the days of instant macaroni n’ cheese, Hot Pockets, and frozen waffles. It’s especially scary when you can’t read ingredients or place names to the foods you’re looking at.

So if you’re here, looking for a helping hand, I’ve got your back!

Behold! The answer to my (and your) comfort food troubles. I was able to find a believable McCormick-type seasoning recipe here, making my own tweeks.

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Muffin’ Meats Meatmoaf

200g ground pork and beef mixture
1/4 – 1/2 of an onion, chopped
1/2 of a green bell pepper or pepper color of your choice, chopped
1 egg
1/2 – 1 cup panko crumbs*
1/2 Tbsp. Heinz mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder or freshly ground garlic

*Add a little at a time until the meat is no longer watery in appearance. If you go overboard with the crumbs, add another egg.*

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Farenheit or about 160 degrees Celcius.

Serving size: about 3 patties or 1 bread pan’s worth

If you’re going the toaster oven route, check every 15 minutes or so. The loaf will have a nice, relatively dark crust once it’s done. Also, beware! If you like to smother your loaf in ketchup before baking, COVER IT WITH FOIL or you’ll run the risk of sparking oils and catching your machine on fire.

Let me know down in the comments below what you like to do with your meatloaf!

goodbye