Spicy Lemongrass Chicken Udon Soup
Spring may have already sprung but the weather is still cold enough to warrant Spicy Lemongrass Chicken Udon. Warm and comforting, this soup is good all year long but is best served on chilly nights when you can fully appreciate it.
My dad and I often order udon noodles at Japanese restaurants but never make them at home.
Lemongrass is a flavor my family loves but never has at home.
I like enoki mushrooms in ramen at restaurants but never have them at home.
What better way to embrace these ingredients than to meld them together in flavorful soup?
Happily, these ingredients were inexpensive.
Four stalks of lemongrass = $0.30
One pack of large enoki mushrooms = $1.99
One pack of dried udon noodles = $1.50
Thank you 99 Ranch. You may have just opened but I’m officially adding you to my usual rotation of Asian grocery stores. (Don’t worry Asian Food Market and H-Mart, I still love you both!)
Strawberry & Apricot Almost Japanese Cheesecake
Welcome to month #4 in my Summer of Strawberry Cake series. Summer may be coming to an end but the hot weather sure isn’t. If you want something delicious but not too decadent, you’re in luck. This Strawberry & Apricot Almost Japanese Cheesecake is just rich enough but will still keep you in shape for swimsuit season— provided you don’t eat the entire cake!
If you’ve never had Japanese cheesecake, you need to run out to an Asian bakery right away. I haven’t had Japanese cheesecake in quite a long time but it isn’t the sort of dessert you easily forget. Unlike Western-style cheesecake, Japanese cheesecake is light and fluffy. Rather than dense and sinfully rich, it’s pillowy soft with a hint of tangy cream cheese.
Honestly, I may just prefer Japanese cheesecake on texture alone.
(Although its calorie-saving nature is definitely a bonus!)
And my strawberry-apricot version will save you even more calories because it uses less cream cheese and less eggs than most recipes. For that reason, I’ve characterized it as “almost Japanese cheesecake” rather than a proper Japanese cheesecake.
No worries. With its swirls of apricot jam and sliced strawberries, my take on this dessert is still wonderfully airy.
And what’s more wonderful than a sweet airy cake?
A sweet airy surprise birthday cake!
IT’S NEVER TOO HOT FOR RAMEN
At Duke Farms and Rai Rai Ramen
So to continue celebrating my father’s birthday, we went for a bike ride, ate peanut butter cake and went out for ramen. It was a three day weekend of fun and food.
If you like bike riding, Duke Farms in Hillsborough has a couple nice trails that are worth checking out. We went a little earlier in the morning before it got too crowded. If riding behind young children isn’t your thing, try to get there before noon.
Although I’ve been to Duke Farms a few times over the years, I’d never taken my bike there. Unfortunately Duke Farms has undergone major downgrades since I last visited, namely the demolition of the iconic Doris Duke Mansion. Learning that the Duke Foundation made this decision, well, it’s quite a loss for New Jersey. I’ll leave it at that.
At least the picturesque waterfalls and small orchid greenhouse remain. And of course, my favorite orchid was the one that smelled like chocolate. Yum.