Thursday, November 25, 2010

Apple Bunnies FTW

Hah... did you think that since this is a food blog that was updated on Thanksgiving that there would be helpful hints on how to get crispy turkey skin or how to make the perfect pie? How little you know me...

The truth is that the Boyfriend and I are going to the Boyfriend's dad's house tomorrow to celebrate. I have also never cooked a turkey in my life. I think I made a turkey burger one time, but that's about the extent of it. I do love to eat turkey though. My mom makes the best turkey noodles (think chicken noodle soup, but actually delicious). They're pleasantly slick with turkey juice without being overly greasy. I suspect that I'll never master the art of turkey noodles because it's going to be a long, long time before I cook a turkey.

Instead, I present to you: apple bunnies!

Apple bunnies are a bento staple, and also a fun way to serve raw apple. At H-Mart organic apples were on sale, and I decided I couldn't live without one. These apples are really too big to eat in one sitting, so this was how I shared it.

First you cut the bunnies into the appropriate size. They're supposed to be eaten in two to three bites, so cut them to fit that. I ended up with twelve bunnies from an apple a little bigger than the size of my two fists.

Make an inverted V (or an A without the middle line... kind of like "^") incision into the skin of your apple slice on one end. (Unless you're superman, you can't see the incision in this picture).

Put your pairing knife under the skin and slide it up until you've reached the apex of your inverted V.

"Pop" the wedge out. I usually just eat it. It's full of... red... nutrients... just eat it okay!

If you leave them in cold, acidulous water (just add lemon juice) the bunnies won't brown. If your water is cold enough, the bunny ears will curl up in an attractive way.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sometimes you've got to live a little, and if that means homemade, peppered bacon pizza then that means homemade, peppered bacon pizza.

I'm not going to give the recipe for this because I used the first dough recipe I found on the internet (ended up with a very harsh yeast flavor) and the rest was just toppings. Those were the quintessential tomato paste, a mozzarella/cheddar cheese combination, bacon, mushrooms and olives. I am a die-hard mushroom/olive fan. I can eat pizza without them, but unless it's just an average pizza it seems a bit lacking.

In any event, I'm probably not going to make pizza again for a while. I'm going to wait until I get my grubby little mitts on a stand mixer, then I'm going to follow the good eats recipe, which requires fifteen minutes of machine mixing (half an hour by hand) and twenty-four hours of resting. I'm sure it's fantastic, but I'm not kneading anything for half an hour.

Making pizza at home is definitely the way to go though. Including a brand new bag of whole wheat flour (I substituted half the white flour with whole wheat), three cans of of pizza paste (I've only used like a quarter of one), a can of olives (only half the can), a brick of mozzarella, and the mushrooms it was only like ten dollars (I used left over bacon). Ten dollars for a delicious and somewhat nutritious pizza. Homemade pizza is definitely where it's at.

In short, I love peppered bacon and pizza and cheap eats that are also delicious, so this pizza was very satisfying. I suggest you also make pizza.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Soup what nourishes the soul

Or is just plain tasty.

Ah, my gentle readers, I'm such a negligent writer. I don't blame you if you seek comfort in the blog of another. But know that I am always thinking of you.

This soup was what happened when I went shopping for Italian chicken sausage at the Korean market. I ended up with chicken thigh.

For the soup, I slowly cooked half a large onion in a decent pat of butter. I cut two chicken thighs into bite size pieces and coated them in flour laced with salt and pepper. I added that to the pot, and cut my two red potatoes into chunks. Before adding the potatoes I deglazed the fond (the bits of flour and fat that had carmelized on the bottom of the pot) with a splash of cream sherry which I had looted from my former roommate's liquor supplies (Thanks Ellen!). The potatoes went in and I simmered it with enough chicken stock to cover until they were soft. I had already cleaned and stemmed perhaps half a bunch of kale. I tore it into bite size pieces as I threw it into the pot. This is perhaps the tastiest soup I have ever made. The perfect thing after tromping about in the rain.

The Boyfriend and I ended up finishing it off that night, so I'm planning on making another pot of it tonight. I often have problems making the same dish from scratch two nights in a row, but you have to understand how delicious this soup is. I recommend it to people who have the ingredients and enjoy delicious things.

That's the long and the short of it for this post, my gentle readers. I hope you have some delicious soup after your own trudgings through autumn.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

West Meets East Meats West?

In Japanese food there is a little something called "yoshoku" which is food that comes from the West. This includes things like kareraisu (curry with rice), hayashiraisu (beef stew with rice), and omuraisu (omelet with rice). The thing that I made from this category is "koroke" or a croquette.

To make these, you boil potatoes until they're soft, add cooked ground beef cooked with diced onion (cooked so that all the little bits of meat are separate) add shredded carrot and salt. Then you form it into little balls or patties, dip it in beaten egg, dip it into panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and deep fry until golden brown and delicious.

It's usually served with a thick dipping sauce like tonkatsu sauce, shredded cabbage and rice. I'm going to omit the rice though, deep fried potatos and rice seems a bit excessive.

I know it seems like all I do for this blog anymore is deep fry, but I assure you that I'm eating simmered and boiled things properly in between posts. Plus it has raw cabbage, what could be healthier than raw cabbage?

In any event, this recipe was very hap hazard, but that's how I like to give things to you. I'm under the impression that the sink or swim nature of my recipes will make you more self reliant.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My oh my, it's a flan not a pie!

As you're quite aware, the holidays are steadily approaching. With it, the pressure on home cooks to put out delicacies, and on dieters to not gain four pants sizes. With this post, I give you something close to a solution. Pumpkin flan.

See, aside from the occasional cookie, I don't really make many desserts. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I try to cook "healthy" things, and aside from fruit, most desserts just don't have much in the way of vitamins and fiber. It's probably just laziness though. However, what could be healthier than some pumpkin?

For this recipe, you need:
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
5 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 can pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla (or a split bean)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of allspice
pinch of mace
1 3/4 cups low-fat milk

You heat the first amount of sugar with the water and let it melt into caramel. Then you pour that into the bottom of eight oiled ramekins (which are sitting in a deep, oven-proof pan). The rest of the ingredients get mixed together (you have to heat the milk, so mix it in after you've already mixed the eggs into the sugar and pumpkin so they don't set up in your mix), then poured on top of the caramel. Then, you pour hot steamy water into the pan, halfway up the ramekins, and pop into a 300F oven for 45-50 minutes. It's done when a knife blade goes in and comes out clean.

Or, if you would like a much more accurate and professional description of the process, here's Chef John who made this recipe. Chef John makes wonderful posts and wonderful food, so definitely check him out.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tempura Tempura, space people

That above is me being silly. "Ventora ventora space people (supeisu peporu)" is the traditional method for Japanese students to try and summon aliens.

Every once in a while, you have to cook something that's a pain in the ass, just to eat it. Tempura is something I feel that way about.

You remember the left over sake/soy/giner/garlic infused chicken meat I had left over? I cooked that up in unflavored water, and then I parboiled all of my vegetables in that chicken infused water. The veggies included: purple yam, kabocha (a Japanese pumpkin), carrots, and green onions. (I didn't parboil the onions).

After parboiling everything (except the green onions), I dipped them in batter.

The batter was kind of my "economically challenged" version of a few recipes I found. I used one egg, 1/3 cup sake, 2/3 cup water, 1/3 cup mochiko (sweet rice flour), 1/3 potato starch ('cause I'm sick of eating corn byproducts), and 1/3 regular all purpose flour.

Perhaps it was because the outside was wet from the boiling, but the first few pieces had very little batter on them; it just wouldn't stick. Then I sprinkled in about a 1/4 cup more of the mochiko. That worked fixed the problem.

Deep frying is something I do from time to time. It's pretty simple, and I don't see why some people are so afraid to attempt it. You just have to learn a trick or two.

These are Sarah's rules for successful deep frying:
1) Keep flammables far away.
2) Use a heavy pot.
3) Use high smoke point oil (I like grape seed oil).
4) Be prepared to par cook or finish in the oven.
5) Don't be afraid of pops.

If you're afraid of popping oil, go ahead and wear long sleeves, just make sure they really hug your wrists. You don't want them dipping into batters. You really don't want them dipping into hot oil.

Anyway, we ate this with white rice, and and tentsuyu sauce from a bottle. You mix 1/4 cup with 1 cup hot water. It made a salty soup base.

The Boyfriend and I polished off this basket of fried goods but, since they were all veggies (aside from the chicken) I didn't feel bad about this.

Monday, November 1, 2010


I managed to burn my right thumb and index finger while making this.

Actually, I burnt them while trying to hard boil quail eggs (told you you'd hear from them again), so my hand isn't feeling too nice while I type this.

Congee is basically rice soup from what I can understand. I had accidentally made too much rice a day or two ago, and had a lot of mushrooms and such in the fridge, so I figured it might be a good time to try it out.

I put the rice back in the cooker and added what looks like way too much water. Then I turned it on. While that was happening, I sliced some more shiitake mushrooms, along with the enokidake mushrooms. I also sliced up some more tofu. I let it all cook until the rice was very fat and the soup thick.

After serving it up in bowls, I threw a handful of spinach into each bowl and let the residual heat cook it down. I added soy sauce at the table.

This is apparently something you eat when you've got a cold and the like (congee in general, not specifically my mushroom enhanced version).

Even with the soy sauce, this tasted way too bland. I think next time I'll lace my cooking water with some kind of stock (chicken or the like) and see how that does.

A quicky.

Free Rice is a site that improves your vocabulary and feeds hungry people at the same time. So, go, test your knowledge and feed the world, ten grains of rice at a time.