Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hon Dashi


I've been in San Antonio the past two weekends. It's been tiring.

San Antonio can be hard sometimes because I can only transport so much. When I cook over there, I can say that I'm minimally stocked. My sister has started cooking, which is a good thing and I can introduce her to new ingredients. It is very nice to have someone I can bounce cooking ideas off of. While my parents were in New York, I had to fend for myself in terms of breakfast:

Breakfast of champions right here: Plantains, Purple Yams. Lava eggs

I was relieved to get back to my kitchen. As of late, I've been on a miso soup craze just because I found out the secret ingredient: Hon Dashi. 

For the longest time I would dump miso paste til kingdom come trying to achieve the saltiness of regular restaurant miso soup. Having grown up in a time before "google it" was the answer for everything, looking on the internet was not my first inclination. I actually found this out while trying to find another way to use miso paste. My miso soup is no longer saturated with miso to the point of it being powdery. I'm a happy camper. 

I've been going a little miso soup crazy lately. Here's my general routine. 

Boil water
Add a teaspoon of Hon Dashi
Dump tofu, mushrooms, bok choy into boiling broth
Add a tablespoon of miso paste

I can even make it more hearty and eat it with rice. Life is nice. I feel like I'm gaining more survival skills. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cheese Diary: Époisses

It's really not that often that I come across a cheese of the washrind (smelly) variety that I can't take. And then I came across Epoisses.

I don't mind cheese that smells like feet, but the peppery aftertaste of Epoisses almost brought me to my knees. As an initial taste...peppery? Fine. It really should not be the ending taste. I think I liked the initial taste, but the ending note was unfortunate.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cheese Diary: Chevre d'Or

This was nice. I had it as a snack today for work. The day goes by faster when you have short term treats to look forward to.

When I had this at the cheese shop, it had a very rich and nutty center. A few days later (today) when I have it, it had been sitting out on my desk all day. Flavor was still awesome, there was a slight tang at the end of the nuttiness that wasn't too surprising  - that's generally what I expect from goat cheese though, even washrinds. There was a bit of an inky, spicy after taste that was quite tolerable and even enjoyable when followed by tea.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

my hungriest hour...

You know, while a lot of people "don't have the time to cook..." if you just sit at a computer or at the TV more time passes than you think. Now, my primary cooking philosophy is that food should not be cooked for so long that there's nothing left of it's original character. That's not what nature intended or else tofu would grow on trees (p.s. I love tofu and I would love if that happened) Asian cooking lends itself well to speed cooking.

Get a rice cooker. While the rice is cooking you can balance your budget, go on Facebook, play a chess game, play fetch with the dog, and watch an episode of Hey Arnold! OR you can cook a main course for yourself. In the front and center bowl is what I call my "Oval Stew" primarily because prior to cooking, almost everything that went into it was oval, or at least to some degree had a shape that could be mathematically described using Pi. It has eggplant, mushrooms: shitake and button, and quail eggs. I shall post a recipe later, but for now, the agak-agak story version:

Generally I just sauteed the (chopped, salted, rinsed) eggplant in a small amount of sesame oil. When they were partially cooked but not fully translucent, I added chopped shitake and button mushrooms. I left it and went to make some rice. While waiting I made the sauce which was a small variation of the sauce made by bunnyfoot for their Eggplant Misoyaki (which is fab BTW). After I dump the sauce in, I add a can of quail eggs. Let it simmer and do some dishes.

I always have to keep a can of these around for some fast protein. I love quail eggs, they are the most perfect food in the world.

Rice is done. Process takes about 20 minutes total and you don't have to wait as long if you make the rice from the beginning.

Keys to a Fast Meal:
Make Rice
Vegetables - they cook fast
Fish works too

Key to a Faster Meal:
Warm up already made rice + Left overs

Welcome to my tomorrow.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Howdy! I've done it again!

I've started another blog. Chances are, I'm going to discontinue the Gunther blog and just randomly insert pictures of him in one of my other blogs.

Lately, I've been paying bills. I've been making rather good progress on paying them too but as a result I haven't been eating out as much. I've been cooking, cooking A LOT. It actually is not that much of a chore after work since I can switch gears to another thinking game. (I'd normally play a game of chess, but it's hard when I'm starving).

I don't mean to flatter myself, but I'm a pretty decent cook. I've come a long way from slaving over recipes. My first boyfriend was a cook and at 18, not knowing how to cook, I was impressed by chopped zucchinni sauteed in butter with a little bit of salt added. Lame. I know. 8 years later, I'm not a kitchen master, but I'm getting there. 

The focus for this blog is food: 

- funky recipes, usually with an Asian basis (soy sauce, rice vinegar, gochujjang, miso, know, the good stuff) 
- ingredients
- cheese (I gotta keep track you know.) 
- cooking tips and tricks

and most importantly - relating the sentiment that cooking should not be intimidating. It's perfectly ok to mess up and burn things, just don't serve those things to guests...or the dog.