Monday, October 3, 2016

Simple Whole-wheat Crepes


Whisk in a bowl or blend in a blender:

2 eggs
1 C milk
⅓ C whole wheat flour
⅓ C all-purpose white flour
1½ T melted butter
a pinch salt

When batter is smooth, very lightly oil a nonstick frying pan, and place it over a medium-low flame. Put a tiny piece of butter in the middle of the pan. When it bubbles, the pan is hot enough to start making your crepes.

Use a ladle to scoop out enough batter to cover the bottom of your pan with a thin layer. Turn your pan to spread the batter around. The thinner, the better.

Cook until they look a little dry, and the edges have started to turn golden brown. Carefully use your spatula to loosen the edges, then flip it. You might need to use your (clean, dry) hands. 

After about 30 seconds, when pretty and golden on the bottom, carefully slide it out onto a plate or platter, then pour in the next batch of batter. Repeat until you're out of batter.

Serve with anything you like:

Cooked apples, cinnamon (basically applesauce)
Strawberries
Jam
Greek yogurt with fruit
Bananas
Berries
Kiwis

Friday, September 23, 2016

Edamame Hummus


Mix together in a blender or food processor:

1-2 T tahini (sesame paste, or nerigoma in Japan)
1 T water
2 T lemon juice
1-2 cloves garlic
¼ t salt
(¼-½ t wasabi - powder or paste)
1 T olive oil
1½ C edamame

Adjust seasoning as you like. You could use cumin instead of wasabi, if you prefer, for a more traditional hummus. 

Serve with corn chips.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Simple Fajitas


Place in a plastic bag and mix around:

½ t ground cumin
½ t chili powder
¼ t salt
¼ t pepper
1-2 t freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-2 cloves finely minced garlic
1-2 t olive oil

Add to the bag:

8 chicken tenders, with gristle removed

Close the bag, then move and squeeze the tenders around to cover all of them with the marinade as evenly as you can. Set aside for 30 minutes or longer.

Slice:

1 onion
½ red pepper
½ yellow pepper

Heat in a heavy frying pan:

1 T olive oil

When hot, turn the fire down to medium and line up the tenders in the pan. Cook until lightly browned on one side, turn and cook the other side. Put them on a plate when they're done and set them aside.

Add a teaspoon more oil to the pan, if necessary, and cook the onion and pepper slices, stirring until they are all heated through, then let them get a little browned by leaving them without stirring for a minute or so. Be careful not to burn them. Put them on a plate when they're done.

Now you need a clean frying pan.

Place a clean pan over a medium flame. When warm, add and cook for about 30 seconds on each side until little brown spots appear:

8 tortillas

When you turn each one to its second side, place on top:

a slice of cheddar cheese or 2 T grated cheese

Lay the tortillas cheese side up on plates, and divide all the ingredients evenly between them.

Also add:

1 small avocado, sliced
lettuce leaves, washed and dried

Serve with:

Salsa
Sliced jalapeños

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Honey Garlic Chicken


Split 1 big chicken breast (mine was 330 grams) lengthwise into two thin slices. Marinate for 30 minutes or more in:

1 T soy sauce
1 T sake
1 T honey
1 minced clove garlic

Heat in a frying pan:

1 t olive oil

When the pan is hot, turn the fire down to medium and cook the chicken on each side until golden. If you want, add:

(⅔ C shimeji or other mushrooms)

Stir them around a bit. Turn chicken as needed. Pour in:

marinade

Cook over a slightly higher flame until the liquid is mostly evaporated while you move the chicken and mushrooms around in the pan to pick up the sauce. Turn the chicken as needed. It's done when the chicken is a nice color and what is left of the sauce has thickened.

Place the chicken on a plate, top with mushrooms, sauce, and 

sesame seeds.

Serve with rice.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


Adapted from the Cookies for Kids' Cancer recipe.

Beat together until smooth and creamy:

1 C butter
1½ C light brown granulated sugar 

(OR 1 C soft light brown sugar + ½ C granulated white sugar)

Add, one at a time:

1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 T vanilla

Whisk together, then gradually mix into the butter mixture:

2 C regular flour
1 C old-fashioned oats (quick-cooking oats are fine, too)
¾ t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder

Use a spatula to mix in:

3 cups of a mixture of chopped nuts, chocolate chips, and/or roughly chopped dark chocolate

Refrigerate the dough for several hours before baking. You can also form it into a flat round, wrap it in plastic wrap, place that in a zip-lock freezer bag, and freeze for later use. When you want some cookies, cut off a piece and let it thaw (covered) in the fridge until soft.

Preheat oven to 170-175ºC (340-350º). 

Make golf-ball-sized balls from the cold dough. Place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet or oven pan, about 10 cm (2 inches) apart. Bake for 15 minutes at 170º, slightly less at the higher temperature. They are done when the edges are slightly browned, and the top is still dough-colored.

Cool on a cookie sheet until they are cool and firm enough to move to a cooling rack.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Tomato and Eggplant Salad

Garlic-seasoned tomato and eggplant salad

1 Japanese eggplant
1 tomato
2 T sweet (summer) onions, minced or sliced as thin as paper, 

OR ¼ t finely minced garlic

Wash the eggplant and tomato. Prick the eggplant with a fork and put it in a microwave-safe container, cover, and cook it in the microwave for 90 seconds on high (or until soft). Alternately, steam it until soft in a steamer on the stove. Set aside to cool. 

Make the dressing:

1 T olive oil
½ T apple cider vinegar
¼ t tobanjan (Chinese hot chili pepper sauce) or liquid from pickled Jalapeños
soy sauce to taste

Cut the eggplant lengthwise in half, and then slice each half into half-circles. Mix with dressing and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.

Shortly before you want to serve it, c
ut tomatoes into thin wedges, and mix them in with the eggplant. 

Add:

Salt to taste

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Pork and Vegetable Stir-fry


This can be made with thinly sliced chicken breasts instead of pork.

First, chop the vegetables, whisk together the sauce, and slice the meat. Mix into the sliced meat:

1 t cornstarch

Sauce

Whisk together:

1 T miso paste
1 T mirin
2 T sake
½ t salt

Heat in a frying pan over a medium flame:

1 t canola oil
1 t sesame oil

Add and heat until fragrant:

1 t finely chopped garlic or garlic paste

Add and stir-fry:

1 carrot, sliced in long, thin strips (about 2mm thick)

After about a minute, add:

150-200 gm thinly sliced pork, cut into bite-sized pieces

Stir-fry until pork turns whitish. Then add:

2 C roughly chopped cabbage leaves*

Turn over with a spatula until the cabbage is mixed in. Add the sauce and continue to mix and fry until everything is coated and the sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes. (The vegetables will be cooked when they are brightest in color. Try not to overcook them.)

Serve over rice.

*If you want to use the thick, white parts of the cabbage leaves, add them along with the meat since they take longer to cook.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Simple Deviled Eggs


Place eggs in a pan. Add water to just cover. Bring to a boil and turn down the fire. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn off and leave the eggs in the water until cooled. 

When cooled, peel them (gently cracking, and then slipping a spoon between egg and shell makes this process easier). Rinse in cool water. Gently pat dry. Slice each egg in half, and put yolks in a shallow bowl. Put the whites on a plate.

Add to the yolks:

1.5 parts mayonnaise 
1 part Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

(For 5 eggs, I used 1½ T mayonnaise, 1T Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Better to err on the side of too little mayo and mustard and need to add more. If you put in too much, what are you going to do?!) 

Mix with a fork until the mixture is smooth. Use a spoon to scoop out a little and fill each egg white.

Sprinkle on:

(paprika)

Cover and refrigerate until mealtime, or cool before putting in an obento.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Naan Pizza


This is a great way to use up extra naan, or make it just for this. It's a very easy dinner.

Pizza Sauce

Sauté in 1 T olive oil:

1 T finely minced garlic

½ finely minced onion
¼ t basil
¼ t salt
½ t sugar
1 small bay leaf

Add:


400 ml canned chopped tomatoes

1 T tomato paste

Simmer until thickened. Taste and adjust the seasonings if you like. Allow to cool before using. (If you prefer the sauce to be smooth, blend it when it's cool.)

Pizza Toppings

Slice thinly and lightly stir-fry in olive oil:

garlic
onions
mushrooms
peppers (red, green, yellow)
and anything else that suits your fancy

When the vegetables are soft, place in a bowl and set aside.

Now stir-fry thinly sliced:

sausages
or bacon
or whatever you want to use

When browned, place in a bowl and set aside.

Slice:

black olives
smoked chicken
salami
and whatever else you want to use

You will also need:

grated mozzarella cheese (or pizza cheese)

Put them together:

Turn your naan grilled side down on a grilling pan or toaster oven pan. Spread on sauce, add toppings, and finish with cheese. Grill until cheese is lightly browned.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Solyanka Soup


This is a kind of a "everything but the kitchen sink" type recipe. The amounts and ingredients are very flexible.

In a deep heavy pot put:

1 T olive oil

When oil is heated, lightly fry until cooked but not brown:

70 gm minced salami
100 gm minced bacon

Add:

1 minced onion
1 minced carrot
100 gm minced sausage or wieners 

Stir and cook for a few minutes.

Add:

4 minced dill pickles
3 T tomato paste
½ t paprika

Stir and cook for a few minutes.

Add:

1½-2 liters boiling water
2 t bouillon or its equivalent,* more or less depending on what suits the amount of water you use
1 large or 2 small finely diced potatoes

After a few minutes, when potatoes are soft, add:

100 gm diced smoked chicken

Before serving, taste, and add:

1-3 T dill pickle juice (as you like)

Serve with:

Sliced lemon (to squeeze into the soup)
Diced black olives
Diced green pimento-stuffed olives
Thick (Greek-style) yogurt
Dill (I can't find that here, so I didn't use it.)
Bread (I have served both naan and hard rolls with this. I think a coarse dark bread would be great, too.)

* I really like this vegetarian bouillon.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Onigiri (Rice Balls)

Pickled plum (umeboshi) onigiris packed for lunch, separated by grasslike decorations

One cup of raw rice, when cooked, will make three onigiris. I'll explain how to make just three, and you can extrapolate from there.

Cook the rice as usual.

Sprinkle on a little bit of salt.*  Place little bits of filling on your rice like so:


Soon-to-be onigiris filled with umeboshi
Fold 1/3 of the rice over its filling, wet your hands slightly, and form the rice into a triangle by pressing gently but firmly to hold the rice together. Too gently and the rice will fall apart. Too firmly and you've made a mush-ball.


Not to soft, not too hard (or so we hope)

Wrap a couple pieces of onigiri-nori around each triangle, and serve or put in your obento box (packed lunch) for later. If they're for an obento, it's a good idea to put a little something between them to keep them from sticking.

Some filling favorites:

Nothing - just plain rice (That's how Denny likes his.)
Umeboshi (pickled plum)
Tuna and mayonnaise (just enough mayo to hold the tuna together)
Tuna, mayonnaise, and umeboshi
Gyudon-style beef - chop and squeeze out excess moisture
Grilled salmon, crumbled (without bones)
Minced chicken, like that used for Sanshoku-gohan

Or mix your rice before forming with Japanese rice seasonings, like this one made from seaweed and edamame (steamed green soybeans).

If you like seafood, you can use such things as:  mentaiko, tarako, katsuobushi (fish flakes) and soy sauce, ikura (salmon roe), seaweed, etc.  

If you're mass-producing them, you will probably want to take several onigiris' worth of rice out of the pot and put it on a plate or tray to cool, and work with that rice. You will need to put your fillings in as you go, not like that simple only-three method I explained above.

* Some people prefer to not salt the rice, but wet their hands in salted water when forming the onigiris. Another way is to put out a small dish of salt, and put a little on your dampened hands before shaping the rice balls.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Simple French Toast

French toast made with sunflower seed wheat bread.
Slice:

2 pieces of bread.

In a wide, shallow bowl, mix with a fork:

2 eggs
2 T milk

Add bread, once piece at a time. Poke the bread with a fork to encourage the eggs to saturate the bread. Turn it over so both sides are covered and soaked through. 

Heat a little oil in a frying pan. When hot, turn the fire to low.

Add egg-soaked bread. Cover and cook until it is browned on the bottom. Remove lid, flip, and cook uncovered until browned.  

Serve with butter, and syrup, honey, jam, or whatever you like.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Naan


Place in a bread machine in this order:


290 ml water

1 T sugar
1 t salt
(2 T milk powder)
1½ T olive oil or butter
450 gm flour (bread flour or all-purpose flour)

Make a small well in the ingredients and pour in:


2 t yeast


Turn on dough cycle. When done, heat pizza stone under the grill in your oven. (Or you can cook it in a frying pan on the stove with a lid, but it doesn't turn out quite as nicely as when done in the oven.)


Using a handful of dough for each naan, press and spread on a lightly floured surface until it is your desired shape, less than 1 cm thick.


Dust pizza stone with a little coarse flour (like whole wheat, graham, or corn meal - whatever you have), and place one or two pieces of naan on it. If your naan is has flour on it from being rolled out, that step may not be necessary. The point is, you don't want it to stick to the pizza stone. Grill for 4-5 minutes, until nicely browned on top. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Gyoza


You will need:

1 pack gyoza wrappers (30)
150 gm minced meat (I used chicken as it is less fatty than beef or pork, but pork is generally used for gyoza.)
Vegetables
Cornstarch

If you have a food processor, this is very easy to make. You can use whatever mixture of vegetables and meat you like for the filling. These measurements are rough estimates to give you an idea. Finely mince:

¼ head cabbage 
1 carrot
2 shiitake mushrooms
2-3 cloves garlic
½ onion
2-3 green onions (You might want to mince these with a knife so they don't disintegrate in the food processor.)

Put the vegetables in a bowl, and thoroughly mix in:

150 gm minced meat
1 T ginger paste
1½ t cornstarch
1 t sesame oil
(a little salt and pepper)

Lay out the gyoza wrappers and a small dish of water. Put a small spoonful of filling in the center of a wrapper, dip your finger in the water and wet the edge area of half the wrapper, fold it over, and gently squeeze around the edges to seal the half-circle gyoza. Repeat until all the wrappers are filled. 

To cook, heat a little oil in a frying pan, then turn the heat to low. Lay the gyozas in a circle around the edge, overlapping slightly (or line them up in rows if you prefer). Add 2-3 T of boiling water. Cover. Steam until the pan is quiet. Lift the lid and check the bottoms. They should be brown and crunchy. If they aren't cook them a little more. All liquid should be evaporated.

Be sure the gyoza are not stuck to the pan, loosen with a spatula if necessary, and then place a plate over the top of the pan, and turn the gyoza onto the plate.

Serve with individual dishes of sauce, and put out rayu (chili oil) so people can add it to their sauce if they like.

Dipping sauces

A. My favorite:

¼ C soy sauce
¼ C apple cider vinegar (or 3 T rice vinegar)
¼ C freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1-2 T sugar
1 T sesame oil
2 T freshly ground sesame seeds
1 T chopped green onions (negi)

B. Simple

¼ C soy sauce
¼ C rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
(chopped green onions)

C. Japanese

3 T soy sauce
2 T sake
1 T mirin
¼ t sesame oil