The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook

I thought I’d bring Cookbooks on Trial back from hiatus by featuring a book that I love, Jaden Hair’s The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

Jaden is a popular food blogger/recipe developer/photographer who runs a culinary empire over at I’ve enjoyed her blog for years and so I decided to try out her cookbook.

A little background about me: I’m not a great cook and I don’t cook dinner from scratch every night (or if we’re being completely honest, most nights) but when I do want to cook something for dinner I usually turn to Asian recipes. One of the reasons why is that I grew up eating a lot of Korean food and so I’m familiar with the flavors, but the main reason is E’s food allergies.

With milk/cheese/butter/cream/eggs/nuts/shrimp off the table I find it easier to cook dishes that don’t include these ingredients in the first place rather than jury rig workarounds that don’t quite taste like the real thing. (Or course, dessert is the exception–I have aspirations to become an capable vegan baker.)

I made a number of things from the book: Baked Garlic Chilli Wings (spicy and perfect for a Superbowl party), Quick Vietnamese Chicken Pho (surprising easy and delicious), Chinese Beef Broccoli (healthy and fast enough for a weeknight meal) and Hoisin and Honey Glazed Baby Back Ribs (tender and delicious). Even after I had tried out a few recipes for the purpose of reviewing the book I found myself going back to it again and again just because it’s fun to read and cook from.

I’m giving this book 5 (out of 5) stars. The instructions are clear, it contains a wide variety of dishes, it’s written in a pleasant conversational voice, it’s lovely to flip through (practically every recipe is accompanied by a well-shot photo), and most importantly, every recipe I’ve tried has turned out deliciously. The only adjustment I’ve had to make is cutting back a little on the five spice powder because N and I aren’t big fans of anise. Also, I wish the recipes included nutritional information, but it’s not an huge issue for me.

Out of all the (many) Asian cookbooks I own, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook is hands-down the most helpful for cooking quick flavorful dinners that you can actually put together on a weeknight. I love flipping through an esoteric super-authentic specialized cookbook as much as the next gal but this book actually gets used at our house.

Jaden writes in such a friendly voice that cooks new to Asian food can get as much out of it as those more familiar with Asian flavors. If you’d like to branch out and try some Asian recipes this would be a good book to start with. And if you want to try out some of her recipes before committing to the book, check them out here.

I’ve enjoyed this book so much that I volunteered to recipe-test Jaden’s second cookbook. N’s excited because it means that he gets a tasty fresh-cooked dinner every night this week. (Tonight it’s Teriyaki Salmon with Miso Asparagus) I just hope he doesn’t get too used to it 🙂

Hoisin and Honey Glazed Baby Back Ribs
from Jaden Hair’s The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.
(Serves 6 as part of a multi-course meal)


  • 5 lbs baby back ribs
  • salt and freshly ground balck pepper

Hoisin Honey Glaze
(Makes one cup)

  • 1 teaspoon high-heat cooking oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon face spice powder
  • 1 Tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F
  2. With a knife or sharp kitchen shears, cut the ribs into sections with 5 or 6 ribs each (enough for a serving). Season the ribs on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the ribs in a large Dutch oven or roasting pan (do not use a sheet pan–it’s too shallow to hold in all the juices during roasting). You can stack ribs on top of each other , but try to crisscross them. Cover tightly with a lid or double layer of aluminum foil and slow roast for 3 hours (or up to 6) Remove the ribs to a large sheet pan.
  3. To make the Hoisin Honey Glaze, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Just when the oil starts to get hot, add the garlic and fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients and summer over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until thickened and it coasts the back of a spoon.
  4. When the glaze is ready, turn the over to broil and set the oven rack in the upper one-third position. Arranged the ribs in one layer on the sheet pan, meat side up. Spoon or brush the glaze on top of the ribs and broil for 3 min, until the glaze begins to bubble and caramelize. Keep an eye on the ribs to make sure you don’t burn the glaze! Brush on more glaze if you want before serving.

Seriously guys, make these doughnuts.

A while ago I ran across this recipe for doughnuts made using canned biscuit dough. E is allergic to dairy (among other things) but I found a type of dough that was dairy-free (although it contains beef tallow so sorry, vegans) and it was game-on.

It was only 15 minutes from E and I deciding some fresh doughnuts would be lovely to us holding these treats in our hot little hands.

All you do is

  1. Heat up some vegetable oil (about 1/2 inch) on med to med-high heat
  2. Pull apart the canned biscuits and cut out holes
  3. When the oil’s ready (I like to test it by dropping in a doughnut hole) add the doughnuts, getting each side golden brown.
  4. Pull them out and then dip each side in melted butter (vegan margarine for us) and then toss in cinnamon sugar.
  5. Devour.

Because of E’s food allergies it can be hard to find baked goods he can have, let alone ones that are delicious and quick to make. This is the most excited I’ve been about a recipe in a long time. They are sooo good when they’re fresh and hot.

A Delicious Weekend

We had a lot of great food this weekend. On Friday night I grabbed some Indian food with friends and then on Saturday our family stopped by House of Tibet for the lunch buffet.

It’s a good thing House of Tibet is quite a drive from our house or else we would be there ALL the time. Their chili potatoes and momos are so good and most of their menu is dairy/egg/nut-free so it’s great for E’s food allergies.

And then after all that, we also had some birthday cake 🙂

Happy birthday to my wonderful mother-in-law! We love you!

Faith vs. Food

Winner Round One: Faith!

I followed through and made a galette with the pears from the co-op. I used this recipe for the crust and it worked well (you normies can substitute real butter for the vegan margarine).

I have totally fallen for galettes. Less fussy than a pie, they’re great for a quick weeknight dessert. Plus saying “galette” makes me feel kind of fancy 🙂 I have two pear trees in my backyard covered in fruit so we’ll probably be eating a few more of these this fall.

Winner Round Two: Food

Yesterday I decided that shrimp cocktail and garlic bread sounded like an awesome lunch. I had picked up a shrimp ring at Costco on a whim the day before because I love shrimp cocktail and I was shopping hungry and my birthday’s later this week and hey don’t judge.

Anyway, so I enjoyed my tasty-but-weird lunch but a few minutes later my face starts feeling flushed and itchy. I look in the mirror and see this. And my heart just drops.

I’m sorry, but what the hell?!! Did I really just developed an allergy to shrimp? I had it a few months ago and was fine. But this time my face got really itchy and I had a few scattered hives on the rest of my body. I downed some Benadryl and the hives went away in about three hours.

Shrimp is pretty easily avoidable but I’m freaked out by the idea that I’ve developed a food allergy at thirty. I didn’t know that could happen. Am I going to develop other allergies? Maybe it was just a weird one-time thing. I’m scared to try shrimp again because if I have another reaction and it confirms an allergy I’ll be bummed.

Bountiful Baskets

Several of my neighbors have signed up for Bountiful Baskets, a produce co-op. It seemed fun so I thought I’d give it a try; we got our first basket on Saturday.

Our basket included iceberg lettuce, 5 pears, 5 lemons, 4 tomatoes, a cantaloupe, concord grapes, 5 bananas, 4 green and 2 red bell peppers, celery, and 5 ears of corn.

Not bad for $15, but it’s a lot more produce that we usually buy in a week. However, I do enjoy the Iron Chef aspect to it all–the contents of the basket are a surprise and it’s an interesting challenge to think of ways to use all of these ingredients.

So far I’m planning on baking the pears into a galette and making roasted corn soup. We’ll probably just eat the melon, grapes, and bananas on their own and the veggies can go into a sauce/salads. But what to do with the lemons and kiwis? Hmm…

A Revelation

Do you remember my garden? Despite being neglected for almost 3 weeks when I was out of town we’re starting to harvest some tasty things. So far these have been my favorite.Baby beets!

Do you like beets? When I was a kid my dad liked the canned pickled variety which never interested me. But over the last few years I’ve had beets in various dishes at one of my favorite local restaurants and I’ve fallen hard for them, particularly when they’re roasted. Roasted baby beets taste so fresh and sweetly earthy.

Since the greens were kind of scabby (see: 4 weeks of neglect) I didn’t use them. After I cut off the tops (leaving behind about 2 inches of the stems so the beets wouldn’t bleed their juices out) I wrapped the beets in foil and roasted them in the oven for about an hour. Once they cooled I peeled off their skins, sliced them, and then added them to a variation of this salad.

I added chunks of avocado and served it with fresh greens instead of cooked ones. It was delicious AND I got the added bonus of feeling virtuous since beets are so good for you. Win-win!

Wiggly Hot Dog Squids

Ever since I saw this way of cooking spaghetti and hot dogs on Steamy Kitchen I’ve been wanting to try it with E. So we made it for his dinner last night.

You poke uncooked spaghetti noodles through hot dog slices.

Then once you have them all assembled you boil them in water until the noodles are cooked…

…and voila–wriggly squid creatures!

The next time I do this I’m going to use wider chunks of hot dog and draw on little faces with ketchup. 🙂

Sneaky Cupcakes

So this is what I’ve been up to lately:

My friend Stephanie and I held a baby shower for one of our neighbors on Thursday which kept me pretty busy this week.

It seemed cruel to bake five dozen mini cupcakes if E (and I) couldn’t eat any of them so I made these dairy-and-egg-free chocolate cupcakes. I was a little worried that people might taste the difference but they went pretty quickly and a few people without any dietary restrictions (“Normies,” we call them) even asked for the recipe.

So, success!

Dinner at Takashi

Right now I’m not eating dairy/eggs/nuts (on the advice of our doctor since I’m nursing Mimi and she’s probably prone to food allergies) which meant that for our anniversary dinner a lot of cuisines were off the table, so to speak. We decided to try out Takashi up in Salt Lake and I’m so glad we did–it was AWESOME.

Left to right from top: pork belly with lotus root and purple sweet potato mash, wagyu beef nikumaki, clams with glass noodles in coconut curry, hamachi with jalapenos, the Imagine (tuna) and Spider (soft-shell crab) rolls, AND salmon tataki with some sort of citrus sauce that I would gladly bathe in. (Yeah, we went a little nuts.)

It was an excellent meal. No exaggeration, the wagyu nikumaki was one of the ten most delicious things I’ve eaten IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. The beef was super tender and intensely-flavored, not to mention perfectly grilled, and the thin slices of vegetables it was wrapped around were the perfect crunchy counterpoint. It’s a good thing it came with six pieces because ten years of wedded bliss aside, I’m pretty sure the fight for the last roll could have gotten pretty ugly. But fortunately such crises were avoided and we had a fantastic meal.

If you find yourself in Salt Lake City and like Japanese food I wholeheartedly recommend Takashi. Price-wise it’s more of a special-occasion place (at least for us) but it’s definitely worth checking out if you get the chance.