Asian, Cheesecake, Curries, Desserts, Egg Custard, Fried Rice, Meals to impress, sashimi, Short Ribs, Turnip cake

A Tasting Menu Anniversary Dinner and Blog Kickoff

Hello to anyone beginning to follow me on this new journey of culinary experimentation, dietary exploration and musings, photoblogging and ultimately, self-discovery. I’m all too thrilled to begin sharing some of my own personal insights about preparing delicious meals, enjoying food fully, making mealtime an opportunity to feel creative, healthy, connected. In the end, it’s about making food that is healing to your body and mind. That which might warm your spirit and invigorate your efforts in the world, whatever they may be.

My first post might give people a skewed idea about what my future posts will be like. I’m presenting a very ambitious meal I made several weeks ago for my girlfriend Melanie in celebration of our 1 year anniversary since we originally met at Sweet Revenge. I prepared an 8 course tasting menu inspired by some of our favorite meals from the last year together. This is by no means the “norm” for me, in that elaborate and multi-course meals are a rarity for me. But it brought me such intense pleasure planning and preparing the meal, and then I believe it brought Melanie and me great joy savoring every bite. The menu is in this post and the images of each course are below.

A note on recipes: it is a blessing and curse that I tend not to rely on  or remember recipes very well. I try to develop a feeling, an intuition about ingredients and how to combine them. Unfortunately I often do not write down how much of my ingredients I’ve put into a dish, as I cook in a very whimsical, chaotic manner, though with great passion and pleasure. However this poses problems for reproducibility on occasion. But for the purposes of the blog I shall make attempts to at least include the ingredients, and will try in the future to approximate ratios of ingredients to make it reproducible for my readers. And if any of these dishes appeal to you, I can offer plenty of tips, and my best effort at reconstructing a recipe for you.

Truffle Mushroom Chawanamushi

Truffle Chawanamushi: Inspired by En Japanese Brasserie’s dish by the same name, this dish combines 1 egg/ramekin with some dashi broth (kombu seaweed and bonito flakes boiled in water) with the addition of a 1-2tsp of canned black truffle-mushroom in heavy cream sold at Fairway and on Amazon/freshdirect for $10 a can. Real black truffles would obviously be better, but that’s way above my pay grade. In general chawanamushis are a wonderfully simple but heartwarming comfort food. Optional and tasty additions include shellfish like crabmeat, shredded cooked chicken, and mushrooms.  Just prepare the mix and steam for ~12 minutes until the custard is set. It can be a nice complement to rice.

Seabass sashimi wrapped around meyer lemon zest and shiso leaf, in dashi broth (Meant to also include a ball of grated daikon in the center): Inspired by a recipe in the first episode of Season 2 of Mind of the Chef on Netflix, except that they used Seabream, or Dorade, which was not available. Though my lack of experience making sashimi style dishes, especially in thinly slicing fish, really was quite apparent here, the end result was quite tasty. The seabass has a clean, mild, sweet flavor, not overly fatty either, and then was elevated by the wonderfully succulent meyer lemon zest combined with the shiso leaf.  This acidic, light, and sweet combination really contrasted beautifully with the umami flavor from the dashi broth. And the issue of finding good relatively affordable sashimi grade fish in NYC is something I might tackle in a different post, except to say one thing: Go to THE LOBSTER PLACE!

Shishito peppers, seasalt, bacon olive oil: These peppers have a wonderful flavor on their own, just pan fried them until their skin blisters and add a sprinkle of a coarse salt. They have a wonderful sweetness but beware…some of them have a serious bite.

Turnip Cake with Daikon radish, tapioca flour base, fried onions, scalions, served with fig oyster dipping sauce

Fried Turnip Cake: Daikon radish, tapioca flour base, fried onions, scallions, served with fig oyster dipping sauce. Turnip cake is a misnomer, since Daikon radish is what is used for their milder flavor, rather than turnips (though people occasionally sub in turnips). Rice flour provides the starch base typically, but I wanted to use starchy ingredients I had at home. These included tapioca starch and wheat flour. So I boiled the grated daikon (1 medium sized) in water, drained all but 1 cup of the liquid , then added chopped rehydrated dried porcini mushrooms (subbed in for shitakes) and salted shrimp paste (subbed in for rehydrated dried shrimp), then added tapioca starch (2/3c) and 1/3 cup wheat flour (since the tapioca by itself would make the texture too gummy), soy sauce to taste, pepper, olive or sesame oil. This is emptied into a loaf pan and steamed for an hour, then cooled first at room temp and then overnight in a fridge. This can then be sliced in 1/2” pieces and pan fried. I wanted to contrast the fatty fishy flavor of these guys with something sweet and tangy, so I mixed oyster sauce and a fig chutney I had on hand to make this wonderful fig oyster sauce combo for dipping. The original recipe I adapted from is: Fried Chinese Turnip Cake.



XO sauce fried fice with cured salmon, shiso leaf, roe

XO sauce fried rice with cured salmon, shiso leaf, roe: This dish was my way of interpreting and integrating two of my favorite rice dishes ever- The XO Sauce Fried Rice from The Bao in the East Village, and the Salmon Rice Claypot from En Japanese Brasserie in Greenwich Village. I cured salmon myself followed this recipe from to a T and chopped about .3lb for 2 cups of rice, then lightly pan fried the salmon in grapeseed oil, before adding 2 eggs and scrambling them in. To this I added diced onions and scallions, and 2 cups cooked white basmati rice. I mixed 1.5 tsp XO sauce with 1 table spoon soy sauce and 1 tsp hoisin sauce and 1 tsp rice vinegar, then added this into the rice and stirred vigorously on high heat for 5 minutes. I served this with some salmon roe and shiso leaf as they do at En.

Horseradish parsnip puree, edamame, sriracha-whiskey-cream soda sauce

Sriracha Whiskey Short-Ribs with horseradish parsnip puree, edamame, sriracha-whiskey-cream soda sauce

Japanese Yam Curry

Japanese Yam Curry

Black sesame dulce de leche icing, candied fried wonton strips

Taro cheese cake with black sesame dulce de leche icing, candied fried wonton strips


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Published on: Dec 7, 2014 @ 23:17EditEdit date and time
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I’m currently in the midst of my medical training, having completed my third year of medical school at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NY. Taking this year to do preventative medicine research and explore outside interests including mindfulness based training, cooking, photography, and web development. I find myself constantly in awe of the human condition, and the resilience many people are able to find within themselves during times of incredible duress or suffering. I am interested in continuing to learn about healing in its many different forms. I am certain there are many more therapeutic agents outside of what the medical establishment currently offers and accepts as standard of care. Whether a nourishing meal, a walk in a scenic landscape, a sitting meditation, or an FDA approved drug, I hope to learn enough to help those in need of healing find the most efficacious choice to restore wellness.