Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nabe for the ladies

The Boyfriend is off visiting relatives until Christmas proper and I have to work the day before and after the 25th so I stayed behind. To keep myself from being too sad and lonely (and because she's an amazing person) I invited my good friend Lilian to spend the night.

Before he left, The Boyfriend and I traded presents (I got him a very nice hat). I received the "Thunder Range" gas grill. So before work, I finally got around to re-firing my nabe (fill with water, put in hot oven for an hour to avoid cracking your nabe over the open flame) and looked at my nabe recipe book and found the Fukugawa recipe which traditionally is for two people, which they bumped up to four and I bumped back down to two.

Clams (which I left in the shell), mizuna (which I substituted spinach), tofu, and mushrooms went into a dashi stock with some miso paste smeared on the lip of the pot so it would caramelize and slowly melt into the stock. It was very fun to put a few clams into the broth and eagerly wait for them to open.

Of course, the best part of nabe is spooning the enriched broth over some rice (or noodles) and devouring the essence of your entire meal over the pleasant chewiness of hot rice.

The Boyfriend definitely "did good" with present shopping this year.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Omuraisu! Or, how sometimes it's okay to put ketchup on rice

Days off usually mean more culinary exploration.

I've been wanting to make "omuraisu" or "omelet rice" for a while, but I just hadn't gotten around to it. I'm not sure what prompted me to make it today, but I'm glad that inspiration struck because it's tasty. Oh yoshoku, how deliciously ironic you are.

I used Maki's recipe, as she's very reliable for this sort of thing. I did add a little salt to the onions (which isn't called for) but since I was using unsalted butter I figured it was fine.

Basically you dice half a small onion and saute it in butter, then you add half a cup of chicken or ham (I used ground chicken that was in the fridge) and cook that through. Add a cup of rice and two tablespoons of ketchup and mound on a plate. Then you beat two eggs and half cook an omelet and flip it onto the rice mound (runny side down). A little more ketchup on top and you're good to go.

I didn't really measure the amount of chicken I put in (I was trying to use it up) but it made a hefty omelet.

I made some glazed carrots to go on the side. That was two carrots (for two servings), peeled and chopped roughly, maybe a quarter inch of grated ginger, a splash of soy sauce and two tablespoons of simple syrup. I added enough water to cover and let it reduce down. I actually added more water as the carrots weren't soft enough and had to let it reduce again, but I don't think that hurt anything.

It was a very yellow/orange/red kind of meal, but that's not a bad thing.

What are your views on the ketchup raise combination?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Roll Cake II: The Wrath of Sarah

I would recommend using only half the cream called for in that recipe.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rolly Polly Cake

Now, that probably looks more like some kind of killer space slug than its intended form of "jelly filled roll cake". Let me count the ways I went wrong.

Firstly, the recipe called for four egg whites beaten until stiff but not dry. I have no real clue as to what this meant and beat them until I got bored of it (which I think was around the right place).

Secondly, the recipe called for the filling to be whipped cream. But it's flooding here (which is why I baked a cake instead of going to work) and I didn't feel like braving the elements for two cups of heavy cream to beat.

The jam itself was a gift (a delicious and much appreciated gift) but it never really set correctly and was runny even before spreading it on hot cake.

The recipe also called for using parchment paper and stated that this would get rid of all the little brown bits (which I concluded meant the skin) but it came off cleanly.

Basically... you should just follow the recipes correctly and contrast/compare against as many similar recipes as possible.

I bet this will still be good if I can get whipped cream into it, or I'll just eat strangely curled jellied cake and call it good.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cry Baby Pie

You know what makes a good pie? A good movie. I watched "Cry Baby" staring a young Johnny Depp. Oh...! The lines in that movie. "That's why I gotta do somethin' rotten everyday for my folks."

A good recipe helps too. I used the dough recipe from Alton Brown's apple pie recipe. Unfortunately, the larger food processor I recently acquired from a friend doesn't seem to work. So I had to mix it in batches in a smaller food processor (which I suspect is mainly meant for fresh sauces).

I didn't follow the recipe exactly (par for course for a Sarah). I replaced the apple jack with vanilla rum because I don't have an extra twenty dollars for liquor and still have a hefty stash from my birthday. Also...I have a secret. To season the apples... I used garam masala. Yes, my curry seasoning stash went into apple pie. Personally, since apples aren't even a native plant I don't feel that putting an Indian spice mix into a fruit that is no longer grows in its native soil doesn't feel strange at all.

The pie would have been more attractive if I had a pie bird instead of just scrunching a bunch of tin foil into a cone shape, but I feel that it was pretty good for a first attempt.

Now, if you'll excuse me, that left over pie won't eat itself.