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Archive for the ‘home cooking’ Category

Soup Swap 2017

I haven’t been to a soup swap in a couple of years because I got distracted by other things that required a lot of my time.

This year my schedule opened up unexpectedly and the swap was a couple of weeks later than usual, which meant that I had the time to prepare.

My contribution this year was a butternut squash/white bean/ras el hanout soup.  Even though I tried to bribe people with little bags of rye sourdough starter and kombucha SCOBYs, I don’t think anyone took my soup until round 3 or 4.  (There are 6 rounds total.)  Was it my “sales pitch”?  Was it because the soup was vegan?  Or was it because no one knew what ras el hanout was?  It’s always hard to determine what will be popular.   I did have extra starter and SCOBY on hand, and the recipients of the extras were quite happy to have them.  So, that’s still something.

This year’s first-to-sell-out was a cassoulet, and then a beef bourguignon with spätzle.  I took neither because there were other things that I didn’t want to risk losing out on.

Let the games begin!

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Scribbles

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Soups that I took home that are not pictured: Vegetarian onion-pho, tomato and avocado, tortellini and chickpea, and parsnip and pear.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with what I took home.  (^_^)b

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Cook Korean, A Comic Book with Recipes by Robin Ha, has to be the only cookbook on my shelf that I wanted purely for visual reasons.

Oh, wait.  I just remembered that I have Modernist Cuisine at Home.  Oops.

Ok, it’s the second cooking I’ve ever wanted just for the pretty.  lol!

Anyway, the book is focused on Korean home cooking.  Nothing looks terribly intimidating, and there’s a good variety recipes.  There’s a fairly typical looking recipe for easy kimchi (mak kimchi).  But then, I was surprised to see chayote pickle (chayote jangachi) a few pages later.  Chayote is one of my favorite vegetables, and I have never thought to swap it with another vegetable in a Korean recipe before.

Some recipes that I don’t think are in my other books are:

Acorn jelly salad (dotorimuk)
Braised daiko with saury (mu kkongchi jorim)
Seaweed soup with beef (sogogi miyeokguk)
Hand-pulled dough soup with potatoes (gamja sujebi)

A lot of the fun, though, is in the illustrations.  They are ridiculously cute.

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You can find a video preview of the cookbook I made here:

Whee!

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Anyway, I tried my hand at one of the recipes.  I decided to go easy since I didn’t really have time to spend at the grocery store.  In this case, I went with the book’s steamed Asian eggplant (gaji namul) recipe.  The only major substitution I made was to use small hot house eggplants than Asian eggplants.  (Again, this was due to time constraints.)  I even used some of the sauce as a dumpling dipping sauce.

Overall, I really liked this recipe.  I also liked the simplicity of the sauce.  I’ve made other sauces from Asian cookbooks, like Momofuku’s octo vinaigrette, but the combination of flavor and ease of this one might very well make it my favorite.  

I eventually modified the recipe to cut out the sugar.  It wasn’t a lot of sugar to begin with, but I still preferred to swap it out.

 

All-purpose Asian dipping sauce (good for dumplings and vegetables)

– freshly grated ginger to taste
– one part sesame oil
– one part mirin
– two parts soy sauce
– small handful of chopped scallions (optional)

Whisk everything together, and use however you wish!

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(There’s no way to make steamed eggplants look fabulous. *sigh*)

Overall cookbook impression?  I love it!  Obviously, you can’t fully judge a book based on visuals and on one recipe, but I’d be more than happy to cook from it over and over again.

 

Disclaimer – I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post.  But for the record, I had been planning on buying this book long before.  I’m a sucker for cute things.

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It’s hard to see, but the radishes in my dongchimi had some color change.  Everything smelled fine, but I wasn’t convinced so I didn’t eat it.

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Both photos were after I drained out the liquid.  Before I drained it, it looked like this:

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That’s a lot of life going on in there.

I haven’t had the energy to buy the ingredients again.  But I still wanted to work on some fermentation so I decided to try my hand at amazake.

Amazake is a drink made from sticky rice and koji grains.  Koji are rice grains that have been inoculated with the bacteria you would use to make miso soup and other Japanese fermented products.  Amazake, like yogurt, needs a certain temperature range to ferment.  It was the primary reason why I never bothered to make it.

Last week, it occurred to me that I had access to a couple of sous vide products which could make DIY amazake possible in my house.  So, it’s currently doing its thing in a slow cooker hooked up to a Codlo device.

This is what determination looks like:

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It’s not the most thought-out set-up, but that’s what I get for not planning ahead.  What you see is a 3qt sauce pan (with the rice and koji) set into a 4.5 qt oval slow cooker.  The sauce pan was too tall, and the handle was in the way.  So, I resorted to covering it with aluminum foil.

I am ridiculous, I know.

This also won’t be done until about 10pm because cooking the rice and then cooling it took me longer than I had anticipated.

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Trying my hand at dongchimi for the first time.

I made it on Sunday.  I plan to open it and try it this coming Sunday.  The only problem with fermentation is that I get impatient.  (^_^)

I was using Koreatown and The Kimchi Cookbook as my reference guides.

kimchi

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Alternate title = “Am I the only one who does this?”

So, most of the time, my drink of choice is genmai-cha (Japanese green tea with toasted rice) or mugi-cha (roasted barley tea).  No sweetener, no milk.  Unadulterated tea.  Even when I do drink black teas, I still tend to drink them plain.  I’m very fond of drinking Irish Breakfast or Orange Pekoe black.

Now, I have nothing against milk teas.  In fact, I love hitting up a Taiwanese styled tea shop on occasion for sweet milk tea.  (No boba though, it’s too filling.)  (And I don’t go too often.  Even when requesting reduced sugar, it’s still a lot of calories.)  It’s more than I seldom satisfied with any milk tea that I prepare at home.  I know a few people so love black tea with sweetened condensed milk, but there’s something in the mouth-feel texture I don’t like.  If just milk is added, it just dilutes the tea flavor.  I’ve tried heating the milk and letting it be part of the steeping, but it feels like such a hassle.

A couple of months ago, I realized that I had an opened bag of dry milk that was going to go bad if I didn’t use it up.  (I couldn’t even remember which recipe I had originally used it for.)  It led to much searching on the internet for ideas for use, which eventually led me to this:

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I like this combo so much so that I used up the bag, and then went and bought a new bag of dry milk.  Right now, It’s part of my weekend morning routine**.  (Mornings of national holidays also apply.)  I think I use about 2 teaspoons per cup of black tea, but that’s just my preference.

How do you like your tea?

** = oh, I should pack up some and bring it to work

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Happiness is… getting a copy of Alana Chernila’s The Homemade Kitchen before it was officially released.  (^_^)

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I’ve read through Chernila’s first cookbook, The Homemade Pantry, a few times because it really appeals to the part of me that wants less processed foods in my life.  (It’s probably a pipe dream of mine.  Work lunches are my downfall, and I’m never going to give up frozen pre-made Chinese dumplings.)  So when I found out that I could get my grabby hands on her new book, I didn’t even hesitate.

Overall impression?  I love it.

More detailed impressions and a recipe?  Keep reading.

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Sorry this recipe is getting written later than anticipated.  I kept tweaking the instructions, and then I wanted to make sure I had pictures.  (True story, I’ve been posting them on my personal Instagram and then copying them over because I’m too lazy to edit on my computer.)

Breakfast cookies are a thing that I have been obsessed with for the last two months.  You might be thinking that I’m exaggerating but I’m not.  I go to bed happy in the knowledge that there will be cookies for breakfast, and I wake up excited for cookies for breakfast.

Before the cookies came into my life, I was going thorough a phase where I was having cottage cheese with jam on toast.  It’s not a bad breakfast.  But one day, I did a breakdown on the nutritional values, and I was disappointed at how nutritionally deficient my breakfast was.

In my search for a better breakfast, I came across a recipe for vegan breakfast cookies on Once a Month Meals website.  Ever since, they have become a staple recipe.

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Don’t you want these for breakfast? I bet you do.

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