Culinary Adventures: Japanese Style Deviled Eggs

Make Easter brunch more interesting, or add Japanese style deviled eggs to your next party spread. They take a bit of planning ahead, but are so easy and so delicious.

 

This recipe for Japanese style deviled eggs is essentially just a Japanese marinated egg topped with a squirt of mayo, a squirt of Sriracha, and some toasted panko. The only hard part is planning ahead to marinate them. Other than that, they are actually less work than regular deviled eggs.

Japanese marinated soft boiled eggs (Ajitsuke Tomago) are what they use in Japanese ramen noodle bowls. For this recipe, I just made standard hard boiled eggs and marinated them with a marinade recipe that I found on SeriousEats.com.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs

Also needed: Mayonnaise, Sriracha sauce, and Panko (Japanese style bread crumbs)

If you’re not familiar with mirin, it is a sweet rice wine product used for cooking, and is pretty essential in Japanese cuisine. You can find it in the Asian foods section at the grocery store, usually near the rice vinegar.

Mix the liquid ingredients and the sugar and whisk the sugar until it is dissolved. Hard boil, cool, and peel the eggs and add them to the marinade. Cover eggs with a folded paper towel saturated in the marinade to help hold the eggs in the marinade, as they tend to bob to the surface and leave a side exposed. Marinate in the fridge overnight.

If you want to make more Japanese  style deviled eggs, adjust the recipe above accordingly.

Once your eggs are marinated, pull them out, pat dry with a paper towel, and cut them in half. Squirt a little mayo and a little Sriracha sauce on the cut halves. I like to use Asian Kewpie mayo which you can find at most Asian grocery stores, it has a fine tip. Regular mayo works just as well.

Japanese style deviled eggs

Next, take the panko and spread it on a baking sheet and toast it for a few minutes. I do this in the toaster oven. If you don’t have a toaster oven, you can toast them in the regular oven on a high temperature as well. Keep an eye on them, they toast quickly.

Toasted Panko Japanese style deviled eggs
Toasted Panko

Sprinkle the toasted Panko on top of the eggs, adding another delicious layer of crunchy toasty goodness. Your Japanese style deviled eggs are now ready to serve.  If you make these for a party, use at least a dozen eggs. They will go quickly.

Japanese Style Deviled Eggs
Japanese Style Deviled Eggs

Driving in Ireland

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Tips for driving in Ireland: Driving on the left, negotiating narrow roads, toll booths, and rental car companies.

 

Ireland was the first time we had ever rented a car in a foreign country. It was also our first experience driving on the left side of the road. We were pretty nervous about this, but we made it through our journey alive and have some tips for anyone driving in Ireland for the first time. (Read about our entire Ireland adventure here).

I didn’t do a whole lot of research on rental car companies, I just went with a big name that would let us pick up in Dublin city and drop off in Galway. We ended up going with Budget Rental Car on Drumcondra Road in Dublin. Our experience with them was fine, no complaints. After our experience, here are a few things you should know:

 

Automatic vs. manual shift:

I drive a manual shift Ford Ranger at home every day. Manuals are much more common in Europe and therefore much less expensive. We opted to pay extra for the automatic, however. The thought of negotiating foreign road signs, directions, driving on the left side of the road, AND shifting with your left hand instead of your right on the left side of the car would be a bit too much for our first time driving in Ireland. If you do decide to go for the cheaper and more readily available manual shift cars, the pedals are still the same (clutch left foot gas right)–so at least that is still the same.

When we went to pick up the car, the automatic that we had reserved had been returned damaged by the previous drivers, and they were not able to rent it out. They called around as we waited for two hours and finally found another automatic they could borrow from a different company for us to use. We could have switched to a manual, but we just weren’t comfortable. The choice is up to you, but be aware that automatics are more expensive and more difficult to find. Reserve one far in advance if possible.

driving on the left in Ireland
Paddy driving our rental car

It is very expensive.

Renting a car in Ireland is very expensive. We rented one for three days and it was around $500.00 with insurance (get the insurance). This included a full tank of gas, which we would be reimbursed for if we returned it full. A tank of gas (called petrol in Ireland) was $160.00. Fortunately we only had to fill it up once the whole time, with a little top off at the end. All that being said, however, renting a car is really the only great way to see Ireland, and we would highly recommend it. After driving in Ireland, I don’t plan on whining about American gas prices ever again.

 The smaller the car, the better.

The roads in the cities and many main roads around the country are very narrow. We had reserved a Toyota Yaris, the smallest car available but wound up with a large sedan. There was an obnoxious group of American tourists renting a large SUV in the line before us at the rental company, complaining about the lack of space for their copious amounts of luggage.

A large car for driving in Ireland is not the best idea. When driving around the Dingle Peninsula, there were roads so narrow they looked like a one-way. We would turn a corner to find a giant tour bus barreling straight at us at high speed, causing us to get as close to the edge of the road as possible, wincing and hoping we wouldn’t be hit. Go with the smallest car you can get.

Driving in Ireland narrow roads
This is a two-way road, watch out for big tour buses!

 

Driving in Ireland narrow streets in Dublin
Narrow streets in Dublin

Toll booths:

There is a toll on the M50 in and out of Dublin but it doesn’t have a toll booth–they scan your license plate from a surveillance camera. You can pay the toll at most gas stations at an electronic “Payzone” machine. It is about 3 Euros and must be paid by 8:00 PM the day after you use the toll. If you don’t pay, your car rental company will be charged and they will charge you the fine and some hefty administrative costs. You can ask your car rental company about the toll, some will include it in your cost and pay it for you, or they can tell you more about how to pay.

Other toll booths on the highways have a traditional pay-at-the-booth system, so keep some change handy.

 Driving on the left:

Paddy ended up doing all the driving in Ireland. We had arranged for both of us to be allowed to drive, but after he started, we figured he was more used to it than I was and that he might as well keep driving the rest of the trip.

The first couple days I kept yelping from the passenger seat as we nearly side-swiped parked cars on the passenger side on the narrow roads. Switching to the left alters your perception of how close the other side of the car is to things, and it took a couple days for Paddy to get used to it. He said he kept feeling like he was driving in the middle of the road, but he wasn’t. We didn’t sideswipe anyone, so all’s well that ends well.

Paddy said the rear view mirror on his left instead of right took a lot of getting used to as well.

Road rules:

The road rules for driving in Ireland aren’t that different from USA. One thing you will notice that is uncommon in America are the roundabouts. Roundabouts are common all over Europe, and in my opinion make way more sense than a four-way stop. When driving on the left, yield to cars in the roundabout coming from the left, and drive around the roundabout until you reach your exit. The sign for the roundabout will tell you which directions go to which locations before you enter the roundabout, and there will be signs in the roundabout as well. If you miss your exit, just drive around until you reach it again.

Here is a video I found on YouTube that explains the roundabouts:

Another rule to be aware of is that unlike the US, you can’t take a “free right” (or in Ireland–a “free left”) at a red light.

 

Overall, driving in Ireland wasn’t too difficult. (I’d be lying if I said we weren’t a little relieved when we returned the car in Galway, but I’m kind of relieved every time I turn in a rental car. ) Renting a car and exploring Ireland yourself really is the only way to see the country. Skip the tour buses and have your own unique adventure!

Culinary Adventures: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes: Guinness chocolate cake with a chocolate whiskey ganache filling and Bailey’s frosting. Get ready for St. Paddy’s Day!

 

I found this Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes recipe on The Brown Eyed Baker and made these for a St. Paddy’s Day party a couple years ago. They were a huge hit, and rich enough to help absorb all that beer and whiskey everyone is drinking. They were also my inspiration for the Chocolate Cherry Bomb Cupcakes I made last summer.

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey

For the Baileys Frosting:
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

**For the frosting and cupcakes, I used salted butter, the salt adds a richer flavor to the frosting in my opinion.

Directions:

1. To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.

3. To Make the Whiskey Ganache Filling: Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

4. To Fill the Cupcakes: Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (or the bottom of a large decorating tip), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping back with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

**I just used a knife to cut out the holes, they don’t have to look perfect, they’re covered with frosting anyway. This is the “bomb” part of the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

5. To Make the Baileys Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.

6. Using your favorite decorating tip, or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.

Irish car bomb cupcakes

I decorated the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes with just a light sprinkle of green sugar. There were no leftover cupcakes at the party we went to. I haven’t found a better St. Paddy’s Day cupcake recipe yet.