Hodge Podge Kitchen

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Summer Baking Season

We seems to get invited to more and more BBQs every year. Our usual contribution is dessert. Being that I'm not a very good baker (too much measuring/precision involved), it's usually Chris' turn in the kitchen. Oh, I make the occasional cookies or pies every now and then. But it really give us (well, Chris) a reason to try something different. I mean, even if it doesn't turn out very good, there's a bunch of people to help you finish it, right? On Father's Day, he made this lovely S'more cake with a graham cake, marshmellow cream and a chocolate ganache filling. I think the chocolate ganache really made the cake, even if it is really strong. It was good, but I'm glad there's other people to share with. There was no way the two of us could eat this by ourselves. We are already thinking next time we should try using a small torch to "toast" the marshmellow cream a little outside to enhance the whole s'more thing more. He also made brownies for the Memorial Day BBQ we were invited to last month.

Both recipes are from In The Sweet Kitchen: The Definitive Baker's Companion by Regan Daley. Chris actually got this book for me, but I think he cooks out of it a lot more than me. Not that I'm complaining at all.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sweet Quesadilla

Flour tortilla with a filling of banana, nutella, and peanut butter. Fold in half, lightly butter the outside and pan-fry until crispy. Serve with a side of fruit salad (strawberries, banana & blueberries). I had this as breakfast but I'm sure will do as dessert!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Ingredient: Shirasu

Shirasu is possibly one of the smallest fish you could buy in the market. They are baby sardine that are usually around 1-2 months old. A lot of times you could find the dried/fried version of them in the snacks section of a larger Asian or Japanese market. (Japanese often have dried seafood to go with their sake.) I found a package of these in the nearby 99 Ranch Market in Daly City. They're quite expensive, $19.99 for a pound. But I was reminded of eating them when I was little. At least I think they're what I had when I was little. In Chinese, we called them "white rice fish", I'm assuming because the size and color of them resembles a grain of rice. Where's my mom when I needed her? The other mystery is how they manage to catch these tiny fishes since these are supposedly wild...

My grandmother used to mix the fish with eggs and a little vegetables to make omelettes out of them and simply pour a little oyster sauce over them.
Shirasu Omelette
1/8 - 1/6 lb of shirasu
1 sprig of green onion, sliced thinly
1/8 cup shredded carrots (optional)
2 eggs
white pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp salt

Beat eggs until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Divide the mixture into about 1/4 cup each and cook over medium heat in a non-stick pan until the firm enough to flip. Cook the other side for about 1 minute more. Repeat with the other two portions. I ate this with a bowl of noodle soup (homemade!). It's also very good with sweet chili sauce.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Dearest Instant Ramen Noodle,

How do I begin a letter like this? We've had such a long history together. You were my first afterall, first thing I cook for myself way back in elementary school. Since then, you have became my number one comfort food. You were quick, reliable, and always around. And after all these years, you still find ways to surprise me with new flavors. But alas, our time together has come to an end. My pantry no longer have a place for you. It's not you, it's me. You've always been truthful about what you're made of. It just never matter to me until now. I'm the one that changed, my needs are different now. At this point in my life, I needed the real thing, not imitations of something. You see, I figured out that in the same amount of time, I could make a much healthier version of the comforting noodle soup that I've been counting on you for all these years. All I need is to bring some water to boil along with some frozen seafood balls (frozen dumplings are good too). When the water boils, add a small cake of rice noodle, some chopped up vegetables and a tablespoon or so of dashi miso. So farewell, I'm sure you'll still be appreicated by many others for years to come.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Curry Vegetable Pot Pie

I have seen recipes using puff pastry for a quick version of the pot pie quite a few times. The curry vegetable stew I decided to make one day seemed to be the perfect dish to test this out. I even still have puff pastry in the freezer. The only thing is that I didn't realize I cut the puff pastry too small so it didn't totally cover the bowl, resulting in funny looking tops.

Curry Vegetable Pot Pie
1 zucchini, diced
1 small potato, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 rib of celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen soy beans
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup milk
1 tsp curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
Saute all the fresh vegetables until soften with 1 tsp oil and curry powder. Add the pumpkin puree, milk, and frozen vegetables. Simmer until everything is tender and heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble the pot pies, ladle the vegetable stew in two small oven-safe bowls or cups. Cover the top with a piece of defrosted puff pastry (big enough to fit if you wish). Brush top with milk. Bake in a preheated 400F oven until the top is golden brown.