Thursday, July 28, 2011

As You Like It

Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) has the kanji for "like" and "heat through" (grill, fry, fire up; that kind of thing). It is as to a pancake as an omelet is to a fritata. You make a better, have cut things small, and fry it up. This dish has about a billion recipes online.

I used a cheater method and used *gasp* an instant dough mix. I just didn't know where or how to find the "mountain potato" used to make the dough have the right consistency. Perhaps it's easily found in Japanese markets, but I don't have any locally. Despite being from instant, the resulting fritter was very delicious.

I used previously sauteed onions, katsuo (flaked fish used in lots of Japanese cooking), tenkasu (little bits of deep fried batter), finely shredded cabbage and bacon.

The method is drawing a disc of batter onto something hot and slick (I used my favorite cast iron) and to layer your ingredients with the meat on top and covering with a lid to let it steam cook the top while frying the bottom. The two video tutorials suggested brushing the batter on top of the bacon, but this seemed bothersome ( only have one food brush). Instead, I scooted the okonomiyaki over, drew another disc of batter, and flipped it into the new batter disc. This worked well. While it's still on the griddle, you brush okonomiyaki sauce on top.

I don't have specific okonomiyaki sauce, so I used "Bull Dog" brand "fruit and vegetable sauce, medium sweetness". It's kind of like a Japanese barbeque sauce. Once I plated it, I tried to make an attractive pattern with squeezes of mayonnaise and sprinkled it with sesame seeds.

I wouldn't say that I'm up to "Okonomiyaki no Ucchan"'s standards, but I make a mean okonomiyaki.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Queen of Hearts

probably didn't use salmon berries to make her tarts. More's the pity.

My friend Lilian, my new friend Irene and her mother (whose name escapes me) were kind enough to let me tag along with their berry picking expedition. We were after huckleberries, but we found a lot more salmon berries.

Salmon berries, for those of you thinking of extremely gross things right now, are simply called "salmon" berries because they are approximately the same color and are in season the same time as the fish. Worry not, gentle readers, my tarts are vegetarian.

I cheated and used a store bought pie dough that had been lying in my freezer. I lined tart pans and blind baked them until they were more or less done. Then I prepared a simple custard of six egg yolks and six tsp sugar (2 TB for the measure savvy) with a pint of whole milk with a split vanilla bean. I initially used the double boiler method, but I just couldn't get the custard to stand firm. So I settled for baking it in the cups like a Hong Kong tart. I scattered the salmon berries over the surface before baking (with extra sugar and a little bit of salt).

All in all I was pleased by the result. The slight ...well tartness of the berries with the creamy sweetness of the custard paired extremely well. I'll have to make some black tea to go with them.