Tag Archives: sugar

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Buy the Oranges, and Make Macaroons too!

Pro-Tip of the Day:
Have you been buying those boxes and bags of oranges on sale at the store?

Next time pick up a bag of coconut flakes and sliced almonds, and you can make this quick, yummy (gluten-free) byproduct treat from in-season fruit!

Just remember to take 30 seconds to grate the rind off before you eat the orange, and you’ll have enough for this recipe. Note: try not to take too much of the white parts (the pith), that’s bitter. Continue Reading

Kelp Noodle Japchae – Low Carb Noodle-mania!

Okay folks, I admit, I’ve been a little distracted by the glorious Pacific Northwest summer, traipsing about in the mountains. Between that, work, and other personal projects, feeding the Internet Blog Machine has gotten a little backlogged. So without further ado, here’s one more..

 

Quite some time ago, I went to school in the other Washington -the District of Columbia. While there, I was exposed to the experience of an even more humid climate than my native Midwest summer. Wandering the concrete jungle blocks from my job at a nonprofit and nerd-exciting statistics classes, I was exposed to my first taste of Korean food ever. It was ironically a vegan Korean shop, and my favorite dish was tofu japchae. In retrospect it was an easy gateway crossover from my beloved childhood Cantonese restaurant dish of beef chow fun (see fellow pun lovers’ recipe at Woks of Life, and really, anything noodle. That first taste opened me up to a whole other cuisine full of spicier, more vegetable-filled and bbq-beef-laden meals like dolsot bibimbap and tofu soup!

Fast forward to years later on a warm Seattle summer day, living with some one who eats low carb, and here is my experiment in turning Japchae paleo friendly.

Japchae Ingredients
Japchae Ingredients

Continue Reading

Taiwanese-Style Braised Pork 滷肉飯
(lu rou fan)

Is it Fall? Is it windy with a risk of power outage in the Pacific Northwest? Are the daylight hours narrowing into a tiny sliver of hope/despair? Did I just go to Facing East and have stewed pork after a 7 mile hike a few weekends ago?
Time for some long-stewing braised pork! Check out the new gif below.

Below is a combo of my old friend Jenny’s roast pork recipe plus another recipe she sent me (photo from a book). You can generally find five-spice powder at your local Asian grocery store, or online if you don’t want to make it yourself. I’ve known Jenny longer than I haven’t, and she’s been a long-time co-conspirator for cooking tons of food to overfeed people. I’ve learned a lot from her, in cooking and life. Even though we grew up together, she’s one of my favorite role models for living courageously. Thanks a bunch for this recipe, Jenny!

Ingredients
3.74 lb. pork (pork shoulder or butt, bone in)
2 cups water
1 cups soy sauce (for gluten-free, use tamari sauce)
1 cup wine (sherry)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons five-spice powder*
1 large onion, diced
7 slices of ginger
1 green onion, sliced lengthwise

Optional (see steps 3-5):
your starch staple choice of brown rice, quinoa, white rice, etc.
3 carrots, chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled Continue Reading

Miso Marinated Cod

Fish!
Fish!

Nobu’s Miso Marinated Cod from the Kitchn.
Important Note: you need at least 3 days before whenever you want to cook this, to marinate the cod!

Ingredients:
1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup mirin
4 tablespoons white miso paste
3 tablespoons sugar
4 black cod fillets, about 1/2 pound each

Steps:

      Two to 3 days beforehand, for the miso marinade:

    1. Bring the sake and mirin to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol. Turn the heat down to low, add the miso paste, and whisk. When the miso has dissolved completely, turn the heat up to high again and add the sugar, whisking constantly to ensure that the sugar doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat once the sugar is fully dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
    2. Pat the black cod fillets thoroughly dry with paper towels. Slather the fish with the miso marinade and place in a non-reactive dish or bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
Fell apart, but still tasty. Maybe not enough for two hungry adults as a full meal, though..
Fell apart, but still tasty. Maybe not enough for two hungry adults as a full meal, though..

 

    To cook the fish:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat an oven-proof skillet over high heat on the stovetop. I like cast iron. Lightly wipe off any excess miso from the fillets, but don’t rinse it off.
  2. Film the pan with a little oil, then place the fish skin-side-up on the pan and cook until the bottom of the fish browns and blackens in spots, about 3 minutes.
  3. Flip and continue cooking until the other side is browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer to the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until fish is opaque and flakes easily. Serve with rice.

 

 

First tried February 2015: cod stuck to cast iron and fell apart, flavors were pretty good though! I used vodka instead of sake. Scaled the portions down to one fillet to serve two.

Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
3 of 5 stars
Interesting, and worth trying again to figure out how to make it without letting it fall apart. Bonus: good for your health!
Likelihood of Repeat: 65%
Lesson learned: Maybe next time use sake, and a griddle, or broil in oven option?

90% Home-made Pot Stickers

Last week was the lunar new year. Happy year of the sheep, friends!

The finished product, mid-bite.
The finished product, mid-bite.

My spouse and I had a few friends over to make and eat pot stickers. My parents used to do this when I was a kid, back in the day when frozen pot stickers were not readily available in Asian groceries in the Midwest. Making these on your own turns tedious and feels unrewarding fast, but getting a bunch of people together to take turns at it and eat them together is much more fun. Turns out when you get a handful of adult friends in on it, they get kind of competitive with the folding. We wrapped about twice as many as we were able to eat that night!

Thanks for pitching in, friends!
Thanks for pitching in, friends!

Without further ado, a recipe from my lifelong friend Jenny. It was nice that even though she couldn’t make it, her recipe was still there to help. I doubled it and split the difference between cabbage and spinach-based filling –but it’s not worth bothering with that.

Fried Dumplings (a.k.a. Pot Stickers)

Mix crack (er...baking soda),  defrost wrappers, wrap pot stickers.
Mix crack (er…baking soda) in with meat and veg, defrost wrappers, wrap pot stickers.

Ingredients:
Dumplings

    • Two packages of frozen wonton or gyoza wrappers (12 oz per pack, about 30 pieces each, available at asian grocery) -this is the 10% non-homemade part
    • 1 pound ground beef or pork
    • 1 package of shredded cabbage (iceberg salad mix works, or half a flat chinese cabbage + 1 medium carrot) OR use 1 pkg defrosted spinach
    • 1 bunch scallions – I did a mix with garlic chives with this
    • 1/4 teaspoon minced ginger OR powdered ginger
Sample folded dumpling.
Sample folded dumpling.
  • Salt
  • 3T Sesame oil
  • 2T Soy sauce (gluten-free)
  • 2T cornstarch
  • Ground pepper
  • Egg
  • Water
  • Cooking oil
Pot stickers in the frying pan.
Pot stickers in the frying pan.

Dumpling sauce:

  • 2T soy sauce
  • 1T sesame oil
  • 1/2 t rice vinegar
  • dash of garlic powder and sugar, to taste
  • Scallions, minced

Directions:
1. Place 5 cups of cabbage in a large bowl. Add 1T salt and mix. Let stand
for 1 hour to de-hydrate and soften the cabbage a bit. Squeeze out excess
water from cabbage. If using spinach, drain and wring out as much as possible.
2. Combine cabbage, ground meat with 1 egg, 2T soy sauce, 3T sesame oil,
chopped scallion, minced ginger, 1/2t ground pepper and 2T cornstarch. Stir
and mix the content. Add more cornstarch if the mixture seems loose.
3. Place 2T packed filling in the center of each wrapper. Wet the edge with
water, and then fold over to make a half-moon shape. Pinch edge together to
form small peaks along the round edge using the thumb and index finger of
one hand.
4. Spread out 2T of cooking oil on a large frying pan. Set stove at medium
high heat. Arrange dumplings tightly but not overlapping. SautÈ until
bottoms are golden (3-5 minutes, depending on how many you put in). Add 3/4-1C water (depends on pan, 1/8″ deep). Cover and cook until water has
evaporated (bout 8-10 minutes). Place a serving plate over the pan and invert
the pan quickly.
5. Serve with dumpling sauce.

The final product, atop delicious sides of cucumber salad and carrots brought by guests, and charred green beans and rice.
The final product, atop delicious sides of cucumber salad and carrots brought by guests, and charred green beans and rice.
Left: special sauce. Right: freezing frozen pot stickers for later (ironically being processed atop a bag of pre-made pot stickers).
Left: special sauce. Right: freezing for later.

Storage tip: you can freeze the raw pot stickers after wrapping, being careful to let them freeze on a dish lightly dusted with flour to prevent them from freezing in one clump, then cook as usual plus a couple minutes.

Gluten-free addendum:
Yes, i made two attempts at gluten-free pot sticker skins with varying result. One: per Broke Ass Gourmet‘s recommendation for rice paper wrappers. A second: per Food and Wine‘s recipe for from-scratch wrappers. I was lazy and used only Pamela’s gluten-free flour mix, no rice flour. If I tried it again I might try it with rice flour and egg and/or xantham gum.

If you want gluten-free wrappers, you may want to practice a few times and add more elastic additives (egg? extra xantham gum?) to help the wrappers to hold up and get thing enough.
Practice rolling GF dough a few times to make sure they hold up to proper elasticity before letting them into the wild.
Gluten-free pot stickers start to look a little like pirogies after frying, if you leave the dough thick.
Gluten-free pot stickers start to look a little like pirogies after frying, if you leave the dough too thick like this.

Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
5 of 5 stars.
The base recipe is best, it’s not even worth trying to get fancy since the starting point is so good. The novelty lies in the fact I only bother trying it out around once a year or so.
Likelihood of Repeat: 100%
Lesson learned: Rice wrappers are even more sticky and frustrating to use as pot sticker wrappers than for summer rolls.
Also: “these aren’t meatballs, they’re naked pot stickers.” That’s what you’ll hear if you roll leftover filling into balls, bake them at 350 until they are sufficiently crisp and reach safe eating temp of 160, and serve them. The meatballs turn out pretty darn salty too.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

…because some things are worth trying again after the first time didn’t quite turn out 10 years ago.

left: sweet, right: bbq, bottom: salted
left: sweet, right: bbq, bottom: salted

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Source recipes: the first search result off google + Food Network combinations

boil, season, bake.
boil, season, bake.

Ingredients:
Leftover pumpkin seeds from carving 2 medium-large pumpkins
Arbitrary Amounts of…
Salt
Olive Oil
Seasoning combinations (amounts to taste):
BBQ: brown sugar, ground cumin, chili powder
Sweet: Sugar, cinnamon
Plain: salt

 

Directions

  1. Clean the seeds.
  2. Boil for 10 minutes in salt water.
  3. Drain the seeds in a colander.
  4. Spread seeds onto a baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, plus seasoning of your choice (see above for what I did).
  5. Roast seeds at 325F for 15-22 minutes, taste testing a few seeds at 15 minutes.
  6. Optional step: accidentally touch the burning hot pan and spill 1/6 of the seeds.
BBQ roasted pumpkin seeds
BBQ roasted pumpkin seeds

This Week’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
4 of 5
I tried roasting fresh pumpkin seeds once years ago, and it was dry and not tasty. This method with boiling first was delicious!
Likelihood of Repeat: 75%
Totally worth doing in 365 days when I have fresh pumpkin seeds again!
Lesson Learned: Boo!
11/1/14 edit: these are not as crispy and tasty second or third day, unless you toast them up a little again.

Happy Halloween!

BBQ roasted pumpkin seeds + rogue farms pumpkin patch ale
BBQ roasted pumpkin seeds + rogue farms pumpkin patch ale

Vanilla Pound Cake

PoundCake_Ingredients
Vanilla Pound Cake, in honor of my father’s visit: the man who fed me Sara Lee Pound Cake for breakfast as a kid (with a side of hot chocolate), yet somehow avoided giving me diabetes.

Melted butter "method," thanks sous chef K for finishing my mistake.
Melted butter “method,” thanks sous chef K for finishing my mistake.
Take 2: room temp butter + patient gradual flour add.
Take 2: room temp butter + patient gradual flour add.

Foreground: method 2, background: melted butter method 1.
Foreground: method 2, background: melted butter method 1.
Method 2 close-up
Method 2 close-up

Top: method 2, right: melted butter method 1.
Top: method 2, right: melted butter method 1.

Almond Florentines

Cookies Part 3 of 4.

almond florentine: the orange zest makes all the difference
almond florentine: the orange zest makes all the difference

(originally from a Food Network recipe, with minimal substitution)

Makes: ~5 dozen 3-inch Florentines, or 2 1/2 dozen 6-inch Florentine
Total Time: 1 hr 35 min
Prep 30 min
Inactive 45 min
Cook 20 min

I first had these a few years ago at Zeitgeist Kunst & Kaffee, a coffee shop in downtown Seattle near my work, and it lit up this light bulb in my head that insisted I look it up to make myself an infinite supply. It has a great crunch, and the orange zest with chocolate drizzle is just the right combination.

Ingredients
* 1 3/4 cups sliced, blanched almonds (about 5 ounces) (I still have no idea what unblanched almonds would be, I just buy sliced almonds, however they come)
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (can substitute: almond flour, same amount)
* Finely grated zest of 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons)
* 1/4 teaspoon fine salt (I use kosher salt without much consequence)
* 3/4 cup raw sugar
* 2 tablespoons heavy cream
* 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Topping, optional (but why would you ever skip it):
* 2 to 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)

Directions
– Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
– Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely chopped, but not pasty. Stir together the nuts, flour, zest and salt in a large bowl.
– Put the sugar, cream, corn syrup and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a rolling boil and sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, then pour mixture into almond mixture and stir just to combine. Set aside until cool enough to handle, ~30 minutes.
– Scoop rounded teaspoons (for 3-inch cookies) of batter and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 to 3 inches (shrink accordingly with cookie size) between each cookie since they spread.
– Bake 1 pan at a time, until the cookies are thin and an even golden brown color throughout, rotating pans halfway through baking time, about 8-10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.

“Optional” chocolate topping:
– Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl (or smaller saucepan).
– Bring a (larger) saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very low simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth.
-Drizzle melted chocolate over Florentines as desired (after trial with chopsticks, metal spoons, and other options, a rubber spatula works best).
– Set aside at room temperature until chocolate is set.

Storage tip: Store baked cookies carefully, separated by parchment or waxed paper, in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. Florentines are best stored separated from moist cookies and cakes.

Note: Special thanks to my chocolate-know-how friend for advising that getting any water in the smaller sauce pan (including a porous wooden spoon that’s wet), and using any metal for distribution would cool the chocolate too fast.

Today’s Cookie Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
4 of 5 stars
In my head, this is a big ordeal to make (not especially true), so when I do make them, it still feels novel. Plus, that crunch!
Likelihood of Repeat: 99%
Chocolate, almonds, sugar, and orange zest, yum yum yum! This time I even verified that you can make it with gluten-free flour for your gluten-liberated friends, hooray! Try it with some tea or coffee too.

Sweet & Spicy Almonds

Cookies Part 3 of 4. This one whips up fast, and it’s even vegan!

sweet & spicy almonds: roast, melt the slurry, coat, add dry mix, cool. easy!
sweet & spicy almonds: roast, melt the slurry, coat, cool. easy!

(originally from All Recipes, HQ’d in Seattle! ..one adjustment here)
Makes: 2 1/2 cups almonds
Total processing time: less than 30 minutes

Ingredients
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1/2 cups whole almonds
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions
1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread the almonds onto a baking sheet, and toast until the nuts start to turn golden brown and become fragrant, about 10 minutes. Watch the nuts carefully as they bake: they burn quickly.
2. Stir together the sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper in a mixing bowl; set aside.
3. Stir together the water, honey, and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the mixture begins to bubble, stir in the toasted almonds until evenly moistened. Pour the almonds into the sugar and spice mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Spread onto baking sheets in a single layer, and cool to room temperature.

Notes: don’t breathe in too deeply when you’re mixing the dry ingredients, or you will end up coughing. I keep reading this note and still doing it. :p Also: you could use agave syrup instead of honey, it won’t stick as well and will feel a little more oily.

Today’s “Cookie” Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 1 of 5 stars
Likelihood of Repeat: 85%
Since these are marginally better for you than cookies, I make them year-round, so they are very familiar. I also like that they don’t require egg whites, another recipe I tried used egg whites and things turned out funny.