Tag Archives: Foodie Tuesday
It’s Foodie Tuesday!
Mochi, that quintessential Japanese treat has found its way to the palates and hearts of the people of the world This sticky rice cake/ball makes for an eating experience that one just wants to go back to again and again. It has a soft and smooth mouth feel, with an oh, so delightful sticky, chewy, resistance. And it usually comes filled with interesting fillings, from the classic sweet red bean paste, to the decadent raspberry white chocolate.
As if it were not already wonderful to begin with, mochi has in recent years gotten wayyyy cooler — literally. I just want to sing the praises of Frances Hashimoto who first thought of filling mochi balls with ice cream. Genius! And in places where temperatures are getting up to a steamy 34° Centigrade, these frosty confections are a welcome relief from the overheated air.
The ice cream idea is novel, and yet its versatility opens itself up for even more creativity. And once that initial cool innovator got the ball rolling, others took it places, with different delectable spins on what is becoming a global favorite.
Add Oreos and milk to the mix, and you have a kind of east-meets-west comfort food.
It gets even cooler with this mint and chocolate variant.
It doesn’t even have to stick to ice cream. This one’s made with frozen yogurt, and some even use gelato (thus resulting in the term mochilato).
And on the off-chance that you’d like to attempt to make your own variant of mochi ice cream, here are some basic instructions from Japanese Ice Cream blog.
It’s Foodie Tuesday!
It has been so grey and gloomy lately that I’m ready for a little fun. Fortunately, it’s Saint Patrick’s Day on Sunday which, for me, means some loud Irish music, lively dancing, and a good hearty meal washed down with a Guinness or two.
Image: The Roanoke Times
If you haven’t tried this dry Irish stout, don’t be afraid of its dark, opaque colour. It is actually a relatively low-alcohol beer with a smooth, slightly sweet malt flavour. It pairs well with both savory and sweet dishes, which also makes it a great beer for cooking.
Image: A Communal Table
One of my favourite Irish foods is brown bread. It is served with almost every meal in Ireland and it is always delicious. It’s nothing like the dry, often tasteless wheat bread we get here. A Communal Table’s version adds Guinness for extra flavour and is a quick-bread, which is perfect for a timid baker like me.
It’s a little warmer in Louisville this week but if it turns cold again, I’ll be looking for some comfort food like Guinness and Onion Soup with Cheddar Croutons.
Image: Steamy Kitchen
Beer and cheese are a wonderful pairing but for those who like a little more cheese in the equation, Aged Cheddar and Guinness Fondue provides a modern take on this retro classic. Just don’t get too tipsy around that molten cheddar!
Image: BBC Good Food
When people think about cooking with Guinness, everyday meals like beef stew come to mind. But it can also be incorporated in more upscale dishes, like a Guinness and Honey Glazed Pork Loin, which would be a showstopper carved tableside.
Image: Browned Eyed Baker
As much as I love the richness that Guinness brings to savory foods, I think it works best in desserts, especially chocolate ones. Stout helps to bring out its flavour in the same way that a bit of vanilla does. Browned Eyed Baker’s Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream has both and yields a cool, silky treat.
Image: Jules Food
The only thing that could make it better is a healthy drizzle of Guinness Extra Stout Caramel Sauce on top-yum!
Image: Sprinkle Bakes
To go really over the top for the holiday, I’m tempted to make a Sweet and Salty Guinness Chocolate Pie with Beer Marshmallow Meringue. Sprinkle Bakes didn’t hold back with this one, which layers a Guinness-infused chocolate pudding on top of a sweet and salty pretzel crust. If that wasn’t enough, it is finished with a toasted marshmallow meringue that has even more Guinness! Now that is decadence worthy of St. Paddy’s Day!
If you are heading out to pick up some alcohol for the holiday, grab a few extra cans of the beer that drinks like a meal and treat yourself to a meal that tastes like a drink!
It’s Foodie Tuesday!
When my Dad was a little boy, his family kept some chickens — and I don’t mean in the freezer. They actually fed them, tended to them, and had a coop or some sort of housing provision for those birds. My Dad used to recount how he would often lie in wait until a hen got up from its roost, so he could take their eggs and run. Even when he was little, eggs were my Dad’s favorite things to eat. He used to say that it is one of the three types of food that he said he could not resist (the other two being noodles and sausages). Seriously, he would take eggs any way he could have them.
And indeed there are so many ways to have eggs! Few foods are as versatile. I remember watching and episode of Master Chef wherein each of the contestants had to prepare a single egg in the best way they could. It was fascinating, and enlightening, and, gosh, mouth-watering.
I don’t think I have the same level of passion as my Dad for this most ubiquitous staple, but I do have quite a fondness for it. It’s my go-to comfort food, or at least occupies a prominent place in my arsenal of go-to comfort-foods. So for this post I thought I’d share a few interesting, savory, and perhaps strange ways in which to enjoy eggs.
The world of Asian cuisine interprets and integrates eggs in many exciting ways, using and combining textures, flavors and techniques. The Japanese tamagoyaki, for example, is like an omelet, but not really. It’s got a little sweet, a little sour, a little savory, and it’s made in many crepe-like layers that are rolled together and squeezed to form a log, and then sliced into pieces.
The Chinese prepare and enjoy hard-boiled eggs in pretty much the same way that Westerners do, but they also have eggs that are, not hard-boiled not in water, but hard-cured in lye and salt and husks for weeks and/or months at a time (not actual centuries though). That’s hard core! Although it looks staggeringly different from the hard-boiled egg, flavor-wise the century egg still tastes quite mild, with only a subtle hit of alkalinity. I think it still needs a bit of salt when it is taken by itself, but not when it’s a topping in congee or noodles.
There’s also the salted egg — which looks pretty normal, but with a brighter orange yolk. This one is salty, and the white feels firmer, less gelatinous, and the yolk is denser too, with more fatty. Salted eggs probably originates from China, and is widely enjoyed in Filipino dining tables, where it is diced up and served with tomatoes and onions. One would find the yolk of the salted egg in a Chinese mooncake, where it symbolizes, well, the moon. I like to take the yolk and cook it with some milk and onions, then puree it into a lovely sauce that is poured over pan-fried fish.
There are also many Chinese soups and noodle soups on wherein an egg is cracked open and whisked in mere seconds before serving. The egg cooks in the residual heat, and it instantly adds texture and richness to the dish.
Soy sauce may sound like a strange condiment to put on poached eggs, but oh my, it works! And when there’s a cup of ”aggressive” coffee to go with it, and some toast loaded up with kaya, a sweet, creamy coconut spread — it’s sheer bliss. I haven’t had this in quite a while, so I’ve been dreaming of this quite a bit.
Lastly, there’s the most peculiar balut, an Asian favorite which strikes fear in the most adventurous eaters, even Bizarre Foods’ Andrew Zimmern. Technically, it’s an embryo, not an egg. It’s an acquired taste, to say the least, but one that many Asians enjoy. Filipinos have it with a pinch of salt, and perhaps a hit of spiced vinegar, while Cambodians eat it with lime juice and pepper, Vietnamese too, but sometimes with the addition of some mint leaves.
It’s Foodie Tuesday!
Valentine’s Day is on Thursday! I was in a store the other day and marveled at the holiday display, overflowing with giant teddy bears and sappy Hallmark cards.
Image: Hungry Happenings
While these cutesy gifts seem appropriate for a grade-school crush, this isn’t really the declaration of love I want to make to my beloved on Valentine’s Day.
This year I wanted to make a treat that reflects the passion of the season, a little more Red Hots than Sweathearts if you will. Searching on the Interwebs, I came across a recipe for cinnamon heart bark which was a simple but rather disgusting sounding mix of melted white chocolate and cinnamon candies.
Image: Vosges Haut Chocolat
But it got me thinking. At Christmas, Midori gave me a selection of delectable spiced chocolate bars from Dolfin, including one dotted with pink peppercorns, and I’m completely addicted to Vosges’ Oaxaca Chocolate Bar, which blends guajillo and pasilla chilies with bittersweet chocolate. Why not make my own version of these spicy treats in bark form?
I decided to make two versions. For the first, I simply melted half a pound of good-quality dark chocolate, poured it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and sprinkled a cup of chopped habanero-dusted almonds that I had on hand. The slightly sweet chocolate paired amazingly well with the smoky, spiced nuts but it is an in-your-face flavour!
I thought that Valentine’s Day calls for something slightly more decadent and perhaps a little more subtle. For the second batch, I added a tablespoon each of cinnamon and ancho chili powder. Since these spices are often used in Mexican hot chocolate and mole, I figured they would pair well with bittersweet chocolate.
Image: Barina Craft on Tumblr
I would have loved to use pepitas (pumpkin seeds) since these are also popular in Mexican dishes but my store didn’t have any. So for crunch I picked up some macadamia nuts because what says luxury more than these buttery treats? I chopped up half a cup of nuts with half a cup of dried cherries to spread these over the melted chocolate.
This one was a winner. The cinnamon adds a wonderful depth of flavour and balances out the sweetness of the nuts and the fruit, while the chili heat builds slowly on the tongue without overwhelming the palate. Hopefully this will warm my Valentine’s heart!
Image: Wallpaper Store
Recipe: Spicy Mexican Bark
8 oz. good-quality dark chocolate
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. ancho chili powder
½ cup macadamia nuts (or other nuts of your choice), chopped
½ cup dried cherries, chopped
Melt chocolate. I used a small crockpot but you can also do this on low heat in the microwave or in a double-boiler.
Add the spices and let sit for 20-30 minutes to allow the flavours to blend, without letting the chocolate to cool to the point of hardening.
Spread the chocolate on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle the nuts and cherries over the chocolate and press lightly.
Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes, then break into pieces.
It’s Foodie Tuesday!
What is it with food and Instagram? I’ve come across a considerable number of jokes and memes that poked fun at people’s penchant for taking photos of their food, that it made me realize the enormity of this social media phenomenon, and its implications on mores and culture.
It must have started back in the early days of Facebook when people felt compelled to fill that empty status box. It led to (over)sharing the most trivial details of their day with friends, family, and anyone else who would care, or not care, to know. And when the time came when said updates could be accompanied with photographs, which could be taken using internet-ready phones and gadgets, really started heating up! Food makes for an infinitely more pleasing photography subject than one’s workstation or the traffic situation on the way to school. Enter Instagram with its retro filters and its promise of visual feasts and we’ve got a full-blown food photography mania.
I admit, I’m about as guilty of as anyone. I went through phases of sending out too much information too. Good thing that privacy issues and creepy cyberstalking stories led to more prudent social media sharing habits. Although when it comes to food, I usually get too excited that all thought of documenting the foodie moment flies right out the window the moment whatever steaming plate of something lands in front of me. I just forget myself and only remember my camera when I’m well past sated. I make up for this lack by following a lot of foodies on Instagram and liking all the awesome food shots I encounter.
But is it starting to get out of hand? This article from Petapixel talks about people standing up on their chairs to shoot their meals, and camera flashes bothering other diners, generally behaving in such a way that seems to push the boundaries of courtesy. It has gotten to the point that certain restaurants have had to come up with restrictions on food photography.
Are we getting obsessed with the shoot-and-share habit? Has it become a hindrance to real-life, face-to-face sharing and real-time, real-world experience?
This calls to mind one of my favorite John Mayer songs, 3×5, which I have sung to myself pretty often in the past several months, when my digital camera was out of commission, and whenever I forgot to bring any type of camera, or forget to charge my smartphone.
Didn’t have a camera by my side this time
Hoping I would see the world through both my eyes
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that we all need to be reminded that inasmuch as we love taking glorious pictures — of food and everything else, sharing them, and appreciate other people’s pictures too, we shouldn’t forget to step out from behind the lens, “see the world with [our] own eyes,” and just enjoy the moment. Because otherwise, what’s the point?