kimchi fail so let me try amazake instead

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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Faster, kimchi! Faster!

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.

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Milk tea mornings

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

The Homemade Kitchen (a cookbook review)

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.

Continue reading

Breakfast cookies own my soul

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.

Continue reading

The Kitchen Ecosystem, a cookbook review

Happy Holidays!

Am I really blogging on Christmas Day?  Yes.  Consider this my present to you.  (^_^)

My semester at night school is over and done with.  I am signed up for more night classes next semester, but I’ve decided to go off track and just take the classes that are of interest to me.  This means that I’m taking my next class at noncredit and hopefully that will afford me more mental space to do things I like, like blogging.

Anyway, I’ve had a cookbook sitting on my table that was sent to me by Blogging For Books.  I’ve been meaning to write about it for what feels like forever.  I just didn’t have the time until now.  Note – I’m not getting compensated for this beyond getting a cookbook for free.  This is my first time using Blogging For Books, and I think I could really like it.  When I logged in, there were about five or so cookbooks that I could chose from to review.  However, only one of them really caught my eye.

About week later, The Kitchen Ecosystem by Eugenia Bone landed in my mailbox.

First impressions?  I love the layout, the look, and the concept of this book.  In general, Eugenia gives you some recipes using a fresh ingredient, like fennel.  Then, she’ll provide a recipe to preserve said ingredient.  For our example, fennel becomes fennel-pistachio compote.  To round out the group of recipes for the ingredient, there are recipes on how to use the preserved product.  So in turn, fennel-pistachio compote becomes paired with egg salad or striped bass.

IMG_20141108_122710~2The chapters are centered around each ingredient.  They are in alphabetical order, starting from apples and finishing with zucchini.  There is also a small chapter on condiments, and a small chapter on how to preserve.  The pictures really complement the book.  The food styling is done so that the dishes look delicious and comforting.   Nothing looks intimidating.

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The only downside to this book is that I don’t think I’ll get to use it very often.  Several of the preservation recipes require pressure canning which I don’t have the equipment for.  Meanwhile, there are some recipes that just aren’t my thing.  There’s a recipe for Fried Ravioli with Grape Must Concentrate.  It’s a traditional Italian Christmas dessert, according to the description.  I’m sure it’s delicious, and I’d be happy to eat it if someone made it for me.  I just don’t see myself ever making it.
IMG_20141108_122750~2Overall, I like this cookbook and plan to use it.  (Hopefully, sooner rather than later.  Cranberry juice recipe, I’m looking at you.)  I will have to do some tweaking for those recipes where I won’t have the preserved components prepared in advanced, but I think that’s ok.

Eugenia Bone has a website that is, I think, a fair representation of her style.  Feel free to check it out, if the book is of any interest to you.

Reference Links:
http://www.bloggingforbooks.org/
http://www.kitchenecosystem.com/

The turning point of summer

I always think that the change from July to August is the turning point of summer. It’s the signal for last hurrahs and doing things while you still can.

It’s also the time of year when I make blueberry jam.

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I use the blueberry jam recipe from foodinjars, but I replace lemon juice with balsamic vinegar.  For better or for worse, it’s my favorite jam ever.  And I say “for worse” because when I run out, I’m out until next year.  And because I have to make it, it means that sometimes things don’t go right.  This year, I had a little too much pectin, so it’s a bit too firm.  lol!

Oh well.  In the end, it doesn’t matter.  I still can’t get enough of it.

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Reference link:

http://foodinjars.com/2009/08/blueberry-jam/