Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Azuki-Covered Kabocha

Kabocha is a Japanese squash. If you can't find it at your local Asian grocer, I've used acorn squash (cheaper and easier to find in the States) as a substitute and found both are tasty, just different.

Azuki beans are usually used for desserts, but this recipe, adapted from Elizabeth Andoh's ''Washoku'', uses them to make a savory paste. This recipe takes a LONG TIME (like, two days) 'cause the azuki take forever to cook, but it is totally worth it. Plus, it makes a BUNCH and the leftovers get tastier with every reheating.

1 cup Azuki
1 square inch dashikonbu (seaweed for dashi stock)
1/2 kabocha squash, scrubbed well and diced
Dashi stock
Soy sauce

Prepare the Azuki
1. Put the azuki in a small pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil.
2. Simmer 30 minutes.
3. Let cool to room temperature (VERY IMPORTANT for nice soft beans)
4. Put in a jar, adding more water to cover if necessary, and let sit overnight. The azuki will swell up to twice their size and the water will become a dusty pink.

Cook Azuki Into Paste
1. Pour the azuki and water into a small pot (the same one you used before works nicely), add the dashikonbu, and bring to a boil.
2. Add mirin and soy sauce to taste.
3. Simmer the living FUCK out of those beans, stirring occasionally and adding water to keep it from drying out completely as necessary. It will eventually resemble chunky refried beans. Meanwhile...

Cook the Kabocha
1. Place the diced kabocha skin-side down in a heavy-bottomed skillet. Cover with dashi stock and bring to a boil.
2. Simmer 'til just tender (~ 10 minutes), then turn them skin-side up, add soy sauce to taste, and simmer 'til they are easily pierced with a chopstick.

-side note- My skillet was too small, so I had to do my kabocha in two batches. This worked out nicely with how long the azuki took to cook, and I just re-used the dashi already in the pan, adding more to cover the second batch.

3. Remove the kabocha from the stock and set aside in a large bowl big enough to mix stuff in. Reserve the stock.

Put it Together!
1. Put the azuki beans in the kabocha skillet, which should now contain only the dashi stock with soy sauce and maybe little slivers of kabocha that fell off the big pieces.
2. Stir vigorously to homogenize and heat thoroughly. Depending on how thick you want your paste, you can simmer off some stock, which will also concentrate the flavour. I simmered mine 'til it was the consistency of azuki-an/red bean paste.
4. Combine the azuki paste and kabocha, mixing to coat the kabocha evenly.
5. Serve with white rice. Leftover azuki paste is awesome mixed with rice as well :)

Happy Eating! Read More......

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Omuraisu: Give Yourself Some Love!

Omuraisu is one of my favourite foods. It's a great way to use up leftover rice AND get three of the five colours (see previous post). It's also an awesome comfort food. When I'm feeling down, I'll make it for myself and write a happy message on top to cheer myself up!

Easy Omuraisu Recipe

Happy Eating! Read More......

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tsukemono: Carrot & Daikon

An accompaniment to meaty dishes. Purportedly of Vietnamese origin.

1/2 foot each carrot and daikon, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1 C. water
2 t. cider vinegar
2 t. sugar
salt to taste
cilantro or parsley (optional)

Combine all ingredients and let sit for 1 hour.

Drain and serve, with cilantro or parsley if using. Read More......

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Colour Game: Popcorn Dinner

Sometimes, I get really lazy about eating. Sometimes, I forget to make rice an hour in advance. Sometimes, I get tired of planning every meal. During these times, in order to motivate myself to eat something, I play the colour game.

The point of the game is to eat all five colours (no artificial colours allowed!), one of which must be protein.

1. Red/Orange

2. Yellow
Tamagoyaki (Protein +1!)

3. Green
Stir-fried (frozen) snap peas with soy sauce and garlic.

4. Black
Kuro-gomashio (black sesame-salt)

5. White
Popcorn (Fast! Easy! Fun!)

An entertaining way to eat well and not be bored :D Read More......

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Finally, a picture of the Chocolate Lava Cake. I think I wrote the recipe down wrong, because 1/4 cup flour made the batter way too thick, and the middle part did NOT become a mass of molten chocolate magma. DISAPPOINT. Next time, I will add only 2 T. flour. Read More......

Viscous Potato Soup with Parsley

A delicious, easy, and low-fat meal. Perfect for chilly days!

1:2 ratio of Onions to Potatoes, washed and diced
Salt & Pepper to taste


1. In a pot large enough to hold everything, sautee the onions with your lipid of choice 'til soft & clear.
2. Add the potatoes and water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook 20 minutes.
3. Ladle half the potatoes and most of the water into the blender. Blend 'til smooth.
4. Return the potatoe puree to pot and stir to homogenize.
5. Add salt, pepper, and chopped parsley to taste, then heat thoroughly.
6. Serve with crusty baguette and cheese.

Happy Cooking! Read More......

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tomato-Avocado-Egg/Tofu Thingy

I don't know if this is a side or a salad or if it's a Western thing or an Asian thing. All I know is that it's FUCKING DELICIOUS and I learned it from this old Chinese lady in California during meditation camp. I guess it technically falls under the umbrella of 涼拌菜 or cold mixed dish/vegetables, since it's not cooked.

Usually it is made with medium-soft tofu, but I like it with tamagoyaki (sweet Japanese egg omelet). I've given two ways to make it, since my version is quite different ^^;

Tomato-Avocado-Egg/Tofu Thingy
For 1 serving

1 tomato, roughly diced
1/2 avocado, roughly diced
1/8 block medium or soft tofu, roughly diced
1-egg tamagoyaki (see instructions below)
~ 1T. Soy paste (Kimlan is best!)
Couple drops sesame oil

Traditional Method
1. Put it all in a bowl.
2. Pour the soy paste on top and sprinkle with sesame oil.
3. Mix.
4. Eat, with rice.

Kitti Method
1. Put the tomatoes in a lidded container that is big enough to hold everything.
2. Pour the soy paste on top and sprinkle with sesame oil. Let it sit for 2-3 hours, or overnight in the fridge.
3. Add the avocado and tamagoyaki.
4. Eat, with rice.

For bento, you can mix it all up beforehand and let it marinate 'til lunch, but I like to bring my avocado half and tamagoyaki saran-wrapped and cut them into the tomato using my spoon so that it's freshly mixed. It's really all up to personal taste.

1 egg
bit of cooking wine or sake
bit more of mirin
pinch sugar
drop soy sauce

1. Preheat a small nonstick skillet on medium. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
2. When a pat of butter in the skillet bubbles but doesn't brown, pour enough mix into the skillet to just cover the bottom.
3. Using chopsticks, wrap the egg up into little square burrito once it is firm enough to handle, but the top is still slightly gooey (the heat of the egg will continue to cook it; don't worry).
4. Add the rest of the mix, lifting your little eggy burrito so that the liquid egg can get under it.
5. Wrap the egg sheet around the little burrito.
6. Cool on a pair of chopsticks (or just on a plate, chopsticks cool it faster)
7. For bento, wrap in saran wrap and bring it to school (or put it on top of rice or whatever). Otherwise, eat it straightaway! OM NOM NOM NOM SO DELICIOUS.

Happy Eating!
Read More......

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chocolate Lava Cake

This recipe has a long and storied past. Originally I got it off the internets and wrote it in my sketchbook for making. I made it and it was delicious. Later, I published on my Japanese blog as part of a homework assignment. To keep it as Japanese-y as possible, I converted everything to grams and milliliters and whatnot.

Then, I lost my sketchbook. And I needed to make it again. So I went on my Japanese blog and converted everything back to cups and ounces and whatnot, halved the recipe (it originally required twelve eggs. TWELVE. And I would be eating it for weeks @_@), and made it. Predictably, I lost the slip of paper I'd written the recipe on and the next time I had to make, I was forced to once again convert the whole bloody thing from metric to English.

This time, I wrote it here. However, I never got around to publishing it because I kept hoping to get a picture of the finished product. Fat chance; these things go like hotcakes. So here we have the recipe, sans pictures.

Melt together over med heat:
1 1/3 stick butter
3/4 C. chocolate chips

Set aside to cool.

Beat 3 eggs & 3 egg yolks 'til lemon coloured.

Gradually stir in chocolate mixture.

Add 1/2 C. flour, stir to homogenize.

Spoon into foil-lined ramekins.

Bake 6-8 min. at 450 F, until the top is set and just cracked.

Serve immediately with some sort of cream and fruit.

The batter keeps for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Read More......

Friday, March 4, 2011

Laurie's Marinara Sauce

This is the thickest, tomato-y-est, most delicious marinara sauce in the whole world. I don't even know if it's actually marinara sauce. It's just delicious.

Laurie's Marinara Sauce
1 onion, chopped very fine
2 gloves garlic, pressed or chopped
olive oil
1 can tomato paste
2 cans tomato sauce
basil, rosemary, thyme, etc. to taste -- no oregano for Tai
red pepper flakes
a bit of sugar

1. Sautee the onion and garlic with the olive oil in a heavy-bottom sauce pan.
2. When it starts to smell delicious, add the tomato paste, followed by the sauce. Stir to homogenize.
3. Pluck your herbs of choice, wash them and chop them finely. Smell it to make sure it is going to be delicious. When the sauce is hot, throw them in.
4. Add red pepper flakes.
5. Taste it. Add a bit of sugar to counteract the acidity. Add salt if you think it needs some (I never do.)
6. Serve with pasta, baguette, cheese, whatever tickles you fancy. (Shown above with penne and stir-fry broccoli, and below with penne and deconstructed Caesar salad.)

Happy Eating! Read More......