27 December 2007

Baked Sukiyaki (Japanese one-pot dish)

The internet consensus seems to be that sukiyaki is a one-pot dish. Okay then. This recipe is from my aunty. Not sure where she got it, but because of her I know that you can substitute ground venison for the beef. She always makes it for parties when we go to Kaua'i.

I chose to make this as another Japanese dish with easy-to-find ingredients. It was so good! Kea liked it too. I think we like it better than the Oyakodonburi.

I used medium firm tofu, but I think you can use whatever you like. My mom says that the original recipe says you can substitute okara for half of the beef. I love okara but pretty sure i can't find it here. I think my mom has to go to the tofu factory to buy it.

The recipe doesn't say how much mushrooms to use, but I used a couple handfuls. I love mushrooms and probably could've used even more.

I went real light on the sugar cuz I am paranoid about my food being too sweet. I would add a little and taste it.

Baked Sukiyaki
Line 9x13 pan with 2 blocks tofu, drained and mashed.

Fry 2# lean beef, drain oil.
Add 1 lg. minced onion, 1 can minced water chestnut, 1 can sliced bamboo shoots, and sliced Chinese mushrooms (shiitake).
Add 1/2 c. shoyu, less than 1/2 c. sugar, and 2 cloves minced garlic.
Simmer ‘til liquid is absorbed. Pour meat over tofu.

Beat three eggs and pour over entire meat surface. Sprinkle with minced green onions.

Bake at 300 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until eggs are cooked.

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25 December 2007

Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon and Sweet Potatoes

I was charged with bringing a salad to a friend's party on Christmas Eve. It being the holiday and all, I felt like it had to be a somewhat special salad. Kea likes spinach much better than lettuce (and last night I found out that a lot of other people do too) so I knew I wanted to make spinach salad. And I like green salad with potato in it--my mom started doing this a couple years ago. I finally settled on this recipe.

I didn't slice the sweet potato like in the picture because the text says 1" slices. So I did that first, but the pieces seemed so big so I cut them into chunks. I think next time I would just shoot for bite-size chunks. That seems like a good rule for items in salads. Roasting the sweet potato was really good; I think my mom just throws in boiled potatoes, but the roasted ones hold together better rather than getting smushed.

I also subbed feta for chevre cuz I don't like goat cheese.

Another challenge was that this is supposed to be a warm salad, but we had to drive an hour to the party. I kept everything separate--spinach in a bag, and sweet potato, bacon, and dressing each in their own Tupperware and then assembled when we got there. I thought about heating the potatoes, bacon, and dressing, but ended up not. Maybe next time I would heat the dressing cuz I ended up with some coagulated bacon fat stuck in the Tupperware. lol. Yummy.

It went over really well though. And people thought it was fancy. lol.

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21 December 2007

Cinnamon Sugar Apples

I don't really like fruits. I mean, I have always preferred vegetables. And while on a hot summer day, a juicy plum or peach can be the best thing, in the winter, fruit is just cold. For some reason, I prefer dried or cooked fruits. Hrm... maybe it's cuz that usually means there's sugar in it... oh well, it's still a good way to make sure I get my fiber, etc. in the winter.

This fall I started making cinnamon sugar apples, which my dad used to make for me when I was little. He makes it again now for my grandma and grandpa since raw apples are too hard on their false teeth.

I guess this is not really a recipe but I have still picked up some tips for making them. So far, I like Fuji or Granny Smith apples for this. I peel and slice the apple. I used to just slice it into wedges, but Kea likes to core the apple and slice it into rings. And they are kind of pretty that way. When I do the rings, I slice them about half a centimeter thick. Then fry 'em up with cinnamon. When they start getting on the softer side (almost ready to eat) sprinkle some sugar. If you put the sugar too early, it can burn, but be sure to cook the sugar a little bit so that it melts rather than just having sugar granules on your apples. That's it! Now eat them! Yum!

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20 December 2007

Online Resources

Energy Fiend provides caffeine news, but most useful is their listing of caffeine content in various products, identified by brand name.

This website provides information on storing produce, which I need because I suck at things like that. How long do things keep? In the fridge or on the counter? My produce always goes bad. :(

I don't bake much, but if I had a baking question, I'd turn to Baking 911 first. Okay, I'd turn to my mom and Kea's mom first. But after that, Baking 911. Looks pretty comprehensive.

Dumplings on the March: A History of Dumplings is not useful exactly, but it is interesting and hilarious! I'm pretty sure its breakdown of dumplings made by Jews, Christians, and Heathens is meant to be funny. If not, I'm scared and going to laugh anyway. I love dumplings of all sorts. How can you go wrong with filled starch?

Food Blogs I Read

Chow Times is authored by a husband and wife couple in Vancouver.
+frequent updates
+Asian (diaspora) perspective
+posts recipes and restaurant reviews
+posts about travels also
+lots of photos
-local restaurant reviews not so useful for me

I don't remember how I came across Erin Cooks...
+lots of photos, including step by step instructions
+posts about cooking products
-some of her recipes are too ambitious for me!

The Tasty Island comes out of Honolulu.
+uses handy-dandy "spam musubi" rating system
+ambitious taste tests
+lots of photos
+love reading about food and restaurants at home
-can't get the food!!

Lazy-Ass Pasta Bake

I considered making Giada deLauretiis' Spicy Baked Macaroni since, you know, it's winter break, and I have time. Unfortunately, I got back from the movies a little too late and went with this quickie version posted on Slashfood by Marissa McClellan instead. It's a little annoying that the recipe's not written out in standard-ish, easy-to-follow recipe format, but I guess it is so easy it might look a little silly written out like a recipe! Anyway, I bolded the ingredients before printing and that helped a bit.

I am totally pleased with the recipe! I especially like that it's got spinach in it. Plus it is the easiest pasta bake recipe ever. I cooked the pasta and mixed the sauce and then had to head out to yoga. Then when I came back, Kea assembled it in the pan and baked it. So it's convenient in that sense too. Hurrah!Link

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08 December 2007

Echinacea Complete Care Wellness Tea

I bought this Celestial Seasonings brand tea when I was sick hoping it would make me feel better. I'm pretty picky about tea. I don't like chamomile. I like green, especially genmaicha. I like fruity stuff. I like flavors that you could also eat (eg. popcorn, fruits rather than herbs) I guess. I was feeling pretty miserable though so I thought I would give this a try.

Unfortunately, by the time I got around to drinking it I wasn't really sick anymore. It was okay, but kind of strange. Maybe it would've been better if I were actually sick. It had a bit of mint in it, which I can see might be nice for the stuffy nose.

I'm sort of wondering about the quality of Celestial Seasonings as a whole actually. I usually buy it because it's the cheapest, but I find a lot of the herbal teas too tart and some brew up an unattractive red. I do still like the toffee flavor--calorie-free, dairy-free dessert. I guess their strength seems to be herbal teas since they offer so many of them and I require more caffeine these days!



I made chichidango for two potlucks at school and was sort of surprised at how well it went over. Kea and I were eating the corners the night before and we love it of course but I was trying to imagine how it would taste to someone who had never had it before. I think some people think the texture is weird. And I'm sure a big part of it's appeal for us is that it tastes like home. *sigh* But yeah, people liked it. One of my friend's said it tasted like a sugar cookie with a different texture and a couple other folks said it was like gummi bears. Oh and some folks appreciated the dairy-free, wheat-free element. Anyway, here is the recipe my mom sent me. It is probably from Hawaii's Best Mochi Recipes.

Tri-Colored Mochi (Baked)
1 lb. mochiko (16 oz box)
2 c sugar
1 t baking powder
1 can coconut milk (12 oz)
2 c water*
1 t vanilla
food color, red and green

In a large mixing bowl combine mochiko, sugar and baking powder. Blend water, coconut milk and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients gradually, mixing thoroughly with whisk or spoon.

Remove 2 c of mixture. Add about 3 drops of green coloring. Pour into greased 9X13 inch pan. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Pour 2 c white mixture over first layer. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes.

Add red coloring to remaining mixture and pour over second layer. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Cool uncovered, preferably overnight. Cover with clean dish cloth. Cut with plastic knife when mochi is totally cooled. [Take the foil off as soon as you take it out of the oven; otherwise the foil will sink as it cools and stick to the top!]

Optional: Coat mochi pieces with kinako or potato starch (or cornstarch). [I think coating it with flour is a requirement, but I used mochiko because I didn't have time to go to the store and it came out fine.]

Lessen water by 1/2 or 1/4 c if firmer mochi is desired. If water is lessened, measure slightly less than 2 c for each layer.

Note that the coconut milk in the freezer is 12 oz. The coconut milk on the shelf is 13-1/2 oz. You need to reduce some water is using the 13-1/2 oz can. 1 cup = 8 oz.

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