Maiden’s Bruschetta

This is not a traditional bruschetta recipe. This is the result of me making something from an idea based on a half-remembered picture and then my sister and me adjusting it until it suited us. Easy to make. See notes at bottom.

Serves: 2 as a light meal or 4-6 as an appetizer
Required Equipment:
A large baking sheet
Spoon or basting brush
A cutting board and knife (preferably a bread knife)
Ingredients:
1 mini-baguette
1 15 oz can Italian-style stewed tomatoes (or diced tomatoes, or one fresh diced tomato)
~4 oz of feta, crumbled
~1 loosely packed cup of baby spinach
Basil (fresh or dried)
Oregano
Garlic powder
Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Slice baguette so slices are about 1 in thick. Arrange on baking sheet.
3. Brush or drizzle olive oil on each slice of bread.
4. Sprinkle garlic powder and oregano across each slice of bread. If using dried basil sprinkle this too.
5. Distribute tomato across bread slices. If using can tomatoes you might have a little left at the end.
6. Distribute feta across bread slices.
7. If using fresh basil distribute across bread slices now. Top with several spinach leaves. (Remember that spinach shrinks when cooked.)
8. Place baking sheet in oven and cook for around 7 minutes, or until spinach leaves begin to turn crisp and feta begins to melt. Is best served warm but can also be eaten at room temperature.


My bruschetta recipe is not an exact science and lends itself well to modification. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
It’s not the end of the world if you put the ingredients on the bread in the wrong order, but it’s certainly more inconvenient.
Italian seasoning works well for the base seasoning as well.
I have also made this recipe adding diced onions, but my sister doesn’t like them as much so I generally leave them off.
If you sprinkle olive oil over top the bruschetta before putting it in the oven the spinach tends to take on a bitter taste, so I would advise against it.

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Yellow Squash, Zucchini and Onions

So simple a side-dish I’m almost afraid to call it a recipe. My go-to side whenever I feel like dinner needs a few more vegetables. See notes at bottom.

Serves: Four (as a side)
Required Equipment:
Large skillet
Cutting board and knife (for prep work)
A spatula or large, heat-resistant spoon
Ingredients:
2 medium yellow squash, chopped (such as crookneck squash)
1 medium-large zucchini, chopped
1 small or half a large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbs olive oil

1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
2. When oil is hot add garlic and onions. Saute until garlic begins to turn golden.
3. Add squash and zucchini. Saute until soft, around 10 minutes.
4. Add salt and pepper. Serve.


I have come to realize that not everyone loves garlic as much as me. If you’re not all that fond of garlic you might want to cut down the garlic cloves to one. If you love garlic as much as mean you might want to up it to three.

Gyudon

Gyudon is a beef and rice bowl. It is a quick and easy dish to make, especially if you have the rice made ahead of time. Adapted from Just One Cookbook’s Gyudon recipes, found here and here.

Serves: Four
Required Equipment:
Large skillet with lid
Cutting board and knife (for prep work)
A spatula or large, heat-resistant spoon
Ingredients:
2 cups cooked rice (preferably a short grain)
1 small-medium onion, thinly sliced
8 oz Portobello mushrooms, sliced
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
1-2 tsp minced ginger
1 cup dashi or other broth (if using HonDashi use 2/5 tsp)
2 tbsp sake
3-4 tbs mirin
4 tbsp soy sauce
~1-1.5 lbs thinly sliced beef (at my store they label it “beef for stir fry”)
3-4 eggs, well beaten

1. Mix dashi, sake, mirin, and soy sauce in skillet. Cover skillet and bring mixture to boiling over medium to medium-high heat.
2. Add onions, mushrooms and ginger, spreading out to cook evenly. Cook covered until onions are tender, a couple of minutes.
3. Add beef. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until beef is no longer pink.
4. Stir in eggs. Lower heat to medium-low and cover. Cook until eggs cooked through and custard-like in consistency, about 1-2 minutes.
5. Serve over rice, topping with green onions.

Portobello Walnut Burrito

More of a wrap than a burrito, this is a fast vegetarian recipe. Inspired by a dish of the same name from a local restaurant (though the recipe itself is my own).

Serves: Four
Required Equipment:
Large skillet
Cutting board and knife (for prep work)
A spatula or large, heat-resistant spoon
Ingredients:
1 8 oz package portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
1 medium-large onion, finely chopped
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2-3/4 cups red wine
~2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs Italian seasoning
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup walnut pieces
4 or more large tortillas
2 cups cooked rice (preferably a long grain)
~1 cup crema or sour cream
Salsa (for serving)

1. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
2. Add mushrooms, onion, and thyme. Saute until soft and thyme fragrant, ~5 minutes.
3. Add red wine, Italian seasoning and salt. Continue cooking alcohol has boiled off and most of the liquid is gone, roughly 5-10 minutes.
4. Add walnuts and black beans. Cook until heated through.
5. Wrap in tortillas with rice and crema or sour cream. Serve with salsa.

Monjayaki Variations

These are suggested toppings and variations of the basic monjayaki recipe that I have tested since I first learned how to make monja, and will be updated as new alternatives are tried. These are only suggested additions, for the base recipe click HERE.

If you just want a list of tasty toppings without suggested combinations see the bottom of the page or click HERE.

The Italian
1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
Salami, chopped
Pepperoni, chopped
Red onions, chopped
Parmesan cheese on top

Curry Monja (The Current Favorite)
Thinly sliced seasoned beef
Sliced green onions
Chopped mochi
1 bouillon cube-sized piece of concentrated curry spices or 1 tbs curry powder
Ramen crackers on top

Three Cheese Mochi Bacon Monja
Cooked, chopped bacon
Chopped mochi
Parmesan cheese on top
Mozzarella cheese on top
Cheddar cheese on top

The Old Standby
Thinly sliced seasoned beef
Sliced green onions
Chopped mochi
Shredded freeze-dried squid
Mozzarella cheese on top
Ramen crackers on top


List of suggested additions
Special Additions
Thinly sliced beef seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder
~Cooked halfway through on the griddle/skillet before cooking the monja, pushed to the side, and then added again at the end
Thinly sliced chicken seasoned with salt and white pepper
~Cooked halfway to three fourths through on the griddle/skillet before cooking the monja, pushed to the side, and then added again at the end

Bowl Toppings
Raw egg
~Add on top like any other topping and let it cook with the cabbage
Cooked bacon, chopped
1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
Diced salami
Diced pepperoni
Diced red onions
Sliced green onions
Shredded, freeze dried squid
1 tbsp curry powder or a bouillon cube-sized piece of concentrated (block) curry spices
Chopped mochi
2-3 tbsp mentaiko (spicy cod roe)
Freeze dried shrimps
Shredded carrots

Final Toppings
Ramen crackers
Bonito flakes
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Shredded parmesan cheese
Aonori (shredded dried seaweed)
Fried bread crumbs