This Is Dynamite!

Salmon and Scallop Dynamite

Salmon and Scallop Dynamite

We’ve been enjoying Dynamite at sushi restaurants for decades, but had never thought to prepare it at home. Recently we enjoyed another fabulous meal at Roy Choi’s Best Friend on the Vegas Strip. Every single dish was intriguing, with bold delicious flavors. His Uni Dynamite Rice was no exception.

Now, the other day I made another fantastic platter of sockeye salmon crudo from my Sitka Salmon Shares, and had some leftover pieces of salmon after I had arranged the fish on the plate. Since receiving my shipment of sashimi-grade Alaskan salmon, I’ve been looking for more raw fish recipes. I pulled out Chef Sam Choy’s cookbook, Poke, and came across his recipe for Salmon Dynamite.

As a super-tasty use for my leftover salmon pieces and a way to reimagine Best Friend’s dish… the inspiration for my Salmon and Scallop Dynamite recipe comes from Chef Roy Choi and Chef Sam Choy. A Choi-Choy Dynamite you might say.

Salmon and Scallop Dynamite

Sam Choy is a four-time nominee for the James Beard Best Pacific Regional chef award, winning in 2004. He is often credited as the “Godfather of Poke” and the Culinary Ambassador of the Big Island. Read my interview with him about poke and sustainability here.

Uni Dynamite Rice at Best Friend, Las Vegas
Uni Dynamite Rice at Roy Choi’s Best Friend, Las Vegas

Chef Roy Choi’s amazing Uni Dynamite Rice is pictured above with salmon roe, sriracha, yuzu, and sesame. All the dishes we have tried are unique and mind-blowing.  On a previous visit to Best Friend we had an extraordinary vegetarian Eggplant Schnitzel, read about it here.

The Chef says of his restaurant at Park MGM, “It’s Koreatown in a capsule – a portal to the streets of LA, but also rooted in what makes Las Vegas… VEGAS.”

Salmon and Scallop Dynamite Recipe

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Not Your Usual “Leftover Turkey” Recipe

Turkey with Sweet Potato Noodles

Turkey with Sweet Potato Noodles
Chili Oil Sauce, Celery, Fresh Herbs, Peanuts

Wow. We were so impressed with a version of this edgy recipe for leftover turkey from San Francisco Chef Brandon Jew. It’s the opposite of everything one thinks of Thanksgiving leftovers:  spicy, cool, vinegary, vibrant, herby, even tingling…the Chef says it’s a nod to the Sichuan dish ma la ji pian that typically features chicken chunks in chili oil. Those looking for a leftover turkey recipe that is deliciously out-of-the-box will be extremely excited about this one.

Made only from sweet potato starch and water, sweet potato noodles are also known as Korean glass noodles. They do not contain wheat so these noodles are naturally gluten-free, and are slightly chewy and springy with a neutral flavor perfect for absorbing chili oil sauce.

My adaptation of Chef Jew’s recipe is below, using more readily available ingredients and it’s a bit less spicy to boot. If Sichuan peppercorns are not available, leaving them out will eliminate the tingling sensation, but this dish will still be worth making! His original recipe is here.

Turkey with Sweet Potato Noodles Recipe

Plus My “Do Nothing” Recipe for Cooking a  Perfect Turkey

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Eggplant Steaks, Restaurant Style

Eggplant Steaks, Restaurant Style

Eggplant Steaks, Restaurant Style

A couple months ago we had an absolutely delightful and completely unique meal at Roy Choi’s restaurant, Best Friend, at Park MGM on The Las Vegas Strip.

“Best Friend is… Koreatown in a capsule – a portal to the streets of LA, but also rooted in what makes Las Vegas… VEGAS. Hip hop-to-bibimbop. Kimchi-to-spaghetti. BBQ and late-night food. I want Best Friend to energize the minds of people looking to experience the best in life. Whether they are from Hollywood or Hong Kong, D.C. or Down Under, I hope all guests are licking their fingers with their mouths full saying ‘holy sh!t’ as they reach across the table for another bite. LA food in Las Vegas. Los Vegas. Best Friend. Forever.” – Roy Choi

Blown away by the KALBI Korean BBQ marinated bone-in short rib; SLIPPERY SHRIMP crispy rock shrimp, chili mayo, walnuts; ELOTES kewpie mayo, lime juice, tajín, cotija, cilantro; and EGGPLANT SCHNITZEL.

The eggplant was simple yet elevated with its silky interior and crunchy exterior. The sauce was intriguing, creamy, and mustardy. Fresh peppery green arugula provided the perfect balance to the fried eggplant. Brilliant.

In his endearing, personal, and somewhat irreverent cookbook L.A. Son, Chef Choi writes, “I make a mean schnitzel.” Yep, he sure does.

Eggplant Steaks Recipe

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Kimchi Stew with Kale, Pork, and Silken Tofu ~ Soondubu Jjigae

Kimchi Stew with Kale, Pork, and Silken Tofu ~ Soondubu Jjigae

Kimchi Stew with Kale, Pork, and Silken Tofu ~ Soondubu Jjigae

My non-traditional version of the popular Korean tofu stew, soondubu jJigae, is flexible. I always start with kimchi and silken tofu, then perhaps add vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms, or daikon; broth can be anchovy stock, chicken stock, or vegetable broth; it can be vegetarian or made with ground pork, beef, pork belly, or seafood; the salty component can come from soy sauce, or fish sauce, or salt; I sometimes add an egg… or not. I make this fast and easy stew often, changing ingredients with whatever is at hand.

I especially like the myriad of flavors, textures, and colors; it’s spicy, silky, and very satisfying. Last night, there was plenty of kale in the fridge, so that went into the stew as well.

My method is somewhat unorthodox too. I always like to cook the meat ahead of time and drain off the excess saturated fat. Then I use the more healthier olive oil to cook the stew. Flavorful toasted sesame oil is used as a finishing oil only, not in the cooking process.

Note: for a more standard version of soondubu jjigae, please visit any of the fabulous Korean bloggers in the side bar below.

Kimchi and Silken Tofu Stew Recipe

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