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Tag Archives: dinner


A date with the hubs

It’s been a good day. I mostly sat around the house, wrapped some presents, did some cleaning, nothing special.

I’ll be really honest, this breakfast was not from this morning. Today I had pancakes, but we all know how photogenic those turn out so here’s a picture of a bowl of yogurt with granola, pecans, buckwheat, pumpkin butter, and apple butter instead…

As long as we’re being honest, this salad was also from yesterday’s lunch…

Aren’t those bean sprouts the wackiest things ever?!? They look like little alien hatchlings stretching squiggly tentacles out of their newly-cracked shells. Ok, that was gross, I don’t want to imagine that the next time I’m eating them. Too late I guess.

On to stuff that actually happened today!

We hit up Java Monkey in downtown Decatur for a coffee date. Here’s my swirly soy latte which was so creamy and delicious!

And Jeff is giving me that snide glare that says “Are you taking a picture of me?”

No honey, never.

After that we revisited Ma Li for a tasty thai dinner. We started with a refreshingly springy seaweed salad dressed in toasted sesame oil.

And had an obligatory sushi appetizer of an Amsterdam Roll and two pieces of inari. Mmmm….fried bean curd and teeny fish eggs, two of my loves.

I got spicy basil tofu which was delicious but face-meltingly spicy.

And Jeff got his favorite red curry duck.

We had a fabulous date together, I always love going to Ma Li.

Now we’re gonna finish the night by cracking open a few beers we picked up at Ale Yeah! and watching some Neflix streaming under a fuzzy blanket.

Ahhh…I’m all warm and toasty just thinking about it!


Beef gyudon

So you’ve got a handle on making donburis now right? You know, make rice, put stuff on top of it? Yeah, that.

Time to graduate to the next level, which involves cooking by simmering some or all of the ingredients in a flavorful liquid. It’s easy, trust me.

Here’s a simple method to making the Japanese classic, gyudon (beef bowl.)

Like so many dinners I make, it started with sauteing an onion and a red pepper in sesame oil.

While those were softening up, I got to work on making a stock to simmer the beef in. I put one small piece of kombu seaweed in a pan with enough water to cover. Kombu is the seaweed you use to make dashi stock, and while I haven’t seen it at any of the major grocery stores, it’s pretty accessible in any health food store, asian market, and I think I’ve even seen it at Whole Foods before. It’s ok if you don’t wanna track it down though, I’ve found that a small handful of dulse works pretty well and is more widely available, but you can do without seaweed entirely and still make a tasty dish.

I let that come up to a simmer for a few minutes before removing it. Don’t ever boil kombu, it makes the broth really slimy if it gets too hot. Just gently steep it like you’re making tea.

Next, I flavored it with miso.  This “red” miso, as opposed to your standard “white” or “mellow” miso, is just what I happened to have on hand.  Any kind you can get your hands on is fine.

I added a big dollop like this…

…and whisked it into the hot liquid.

It’s like a lava lamp watching the miso roil away in the hot broth.

At that point I took some strips of flank steak that had been marinating for a few hours in soy sauce, mirin, and rice vinegar, and swirled them around in the broth to partially cook.

This is the fun part. Turn up the heat on both pans to medium high. As the beef gets cooked through, start transferring it to the veggie pan along with a ladle-full of the broth. As the pan of broth boils away getting more and more concentrated, your veggies are soaking up their own broth and quickly about to start burning on the pan. Add another ladle of broth and wait for the meat and veggies to soak it all up before doing it again. When everything is cooked through and coated in a sweet glaze made by the concentrated broth, cut the heat and serve it up!

You can serve this over sushi rice or plain white rice. Don’t forget to spoon over some more of the delicious cooking liquid and garnish with sesame seeds!

Whatever you do, don’t throw out the remaining broth. It makes a delicious soup base to add mushrooms, scallions, and noodles to. I’ve got some in my freezer right now saved up for a rainy day.

This was one of those dishes that had us saying “Mmmm” the whole time we were eating it. Definitely one for the “make over and over again” file!

Beef gyudon

A simple take on a Japanese classic. Thinly sliced beef in a rich sauce with peppers and onions.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2 servings


  • 2 portions flank steak (sliced thinly)
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 medium piece kombu seaweed (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. miso
  • 1 tbsp. each soy sauce, rice vinegar, and mirin
  • sesame oil for sauteing

Cooking Directions

  1. Let steak marinate in soy sauce, mirin, and rice vinegar.
  2. Fill a pan 1/2 way up with water and slowly heat kombu in it. Remove kombu before it boils.
  3. Saute peppers and onions in a separate pan until starting to soften.
  4. Add steak to seaweed water along with marinade and allow to cook through.
  5. Add steak to peppers and onions along with some of the liquid.
  6. As the liquid gets soaked up, add more several times until a rich sauce is formed.
  7. Serve over rice and top with toasted sesame seeds if desired.


Ege and Intermezzo


I wondered the other night exactly how many days it would take of eating sushi every night before I got tired of it. I’d guess it’s well over a month, possibly longer. I’ll have to try that experiment sometime. :)

Saturday night we went out for sushi with a group of friends to a restaurant called Ege. It’s always a good sign to walk into a sushi joint and hear “Irasshaimase!” being called out to you as a welcome.

Check out the cute handwritten specials menu with all the adorable sea creatures on it!

I especially like the little octopus at the bottom with another octopus on his head. I think it is a zombie eating his brains!

We ordered A LOT of food, starting with some edamame…

…teriyaki salmon…

…and beef tataki that I couldn’t snap a picture of before it was devoured!

Then came the sushi. Here’s what was shared between the 6 of us…

Rainbow roll, spicy tuna roll, tuna and avocado roll

Sashimi plate

Bamboo roll and yellowtail nigiri

At that point I loaded up my first sample plate, knowing there would be lots more coming and we needed to clear these out!

Turns out I wasn’t the only one snapping photos that night. Emily has a pretty new toy she was testing out…

On to even more sushi…

Tuna roll, uni, ikura, unagi, tuna avocado roll

unagi and yellowtail

Apparently I didn’t get a picture of the last plate, which was tamago (egg omelet) and anago (sea eel). Here’s my second helping…

That buttery soft anago is one of my all-time favorites! I had more than what you see here too.

So after all that sushi and 4 caraffes of hot sake, we wanted dessert! Off to Cafe Intermezzo for a slice (or 6!) of the best cakes around and some yummy cocktails.

It was dark, but I got the best photos I could. This picture came out crazy with the ghostly figure in the background. That’s John, Emily, Marshall, and Kelly; Jeff is to my left but he got cut off.

We started with a round of drinks. I got a Manhattan Deluxe…

Intermezzo has an enormous menu, but everyone seemed to stick to the classics…white russians, mojitos, old fashioneds.

After drinks were on the table, it was time to go pick out cakes…

Entire case of cheesecakes

And another case of cakes

I got a huge profiterole type thing. It was filled with Nutella whipped cream and topped with chocolate!

I laughed at Jeff for getting plain cheesecake with so many interesting choices available, but it was so good that I ended up eating more of it than he did!  Wise man, my husband.

Here’s a pic of Johns’ 7 Layer Amaretto, another one of my favorites…

I actually used to work at Cafe Intermezzo back when I was 19, so I get warm fuzzy feelings every time I go in there. Also, I know which cakes are the best, as I’ve tried every single one of them. :)

Another great night out. Can’t argue with sushi, booze, and cake!