Tag Archives: recipes
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.
Spring has arrived but it seems that someone forgot to tell Mother Nature! It is so cold and grey here in Louisville that I find it hard to believe that Easter is this weekend. The weather has made me downright anti-social, so I’m tempted to follow See Jane Blog’s lead and host an Easter egg-decorating party to help me and my friends shake off the winter blues. I love her party favours and printable invitations!
I haven’t dyed eggs since I was a kid, so I was really impressed to find that so many bloggers have moved beyond the basic dunk n’ dye method to create several stunning options. And because I hate to see good food go to waste, I have included some awesome recipes to use up those eggs!
Bright colours are just what I need right now to shake me out of my funk but traditional eggs can be a little gaudy. However, not these ones:
This one is so simple that even the kids can do it but the results are remarkably refined.
For those who are as obsessed by Pantone as I am, these are the Easter eggs for you!
I love the idea of using candy to give eggs a little pizzazz. And it matches one of this year’s biggest fashion trends, the caviar manicure.
Just about anything can be used to decorate eggs; these cheery ones were made by with flower-patterned paper napkins and Mod Podge.
To match the vibrant hues of these eggs, I suggest Chakchouka, eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. To do this with Easter eggs, you will need to blow out the insides. To learn how, check out this tutorial. The yolks will be a little scrambled, but will still work in this recipe.
If you prefer a more subdued colour scheme for your holiday decoration, there are lots of pastel and neutral options out there:
For those who are concerned with chemical dyes, Rosalind Creasy shows how to achieve a rainbow of subtle shades using fruits and vegetables.
And regular brown eggs look anything but plain when patterns are added with a white-out pen.
A mix of plain and coloured eggs makes for a thoroughly modern and understated centerpiece.
Another way to add texture to your eggs is to wrap them in lace (also a big fashion trend this year) before dropping them in the dye bath; the result is extremely elegant.
The easiest way to make Easter eggs is to hard-boil them but, seriously, how many egg salad sandwiches can one eat? Instead, why not make Japanese Flavoured Tea Eggs, which are as sophisticated as the subdued colours shown above.
Black and white is not a traditional Easter colour scheme but for those who want to match a more modern décor, here are some suggestions:
The key to these are simple, bold graphics and awesome fonts.
This style matches well with a visually simple dish, like tamago nigiri, Japanese omelet sushi. While it looks easy, it can be quite a challenge to get the technique just right. Smoky Wok offers a wonderful recipe and photo tutorial and you will have lots of eggs to practice with!
No matter what style or recipe you chose, I hope that you have a wonderful holiday weekend full of egg-cellent fun!
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!
We do love our spring rolls, right? I like the fresh spring rolls with their chewy translucent wrappers or the delicate crepe-y ones. Fried spring rolls are a favorite of mine too — savory, crunchy, and satisfying. Whether they be filled with meat, vegetables, or seafood, they have this wonderful Asian awesomeness, all wrapped up in lovely little cylinders.
But those sheets of rice paper aren’t just for spring rolls. They are so versatile, they can wrap around other things too, to make a myriad other yummy things — going as far as your creativity can take you.
I’ll let you in a few ideas to get your imagination rolling.
But before anything else, we’ve gotta get our technique down pat, or at least decent enough so that our rolls stay together. It’s pretty easy, with a little practice. Jaden from Steamy Kitchen has an excellent wrap-and-roll tutorial included in her spring roll recipe (you’ll have to scroll down quite a bit).
These ideas require deep frying, and thus an important reminder is to make sure the oil is hot, or else the wrapper will absorb all that grease like a sponge — blech, not good. Most of these fillings don’t require much cooking — the main objective really is to brown the wrapping to a crisp, so hot and fast is the key.
Banana and Jackfruit
It is called turon in the Philippines, and is a well-loved snack or dessert. The banana and sliced jackfruit are rolled in brown sugar before they’re wrapped up. The banana is a local variety that is usually enjoyed cooked, but it’ll work with another kind of banana, say cavendish, and will be reminiscent of bananas foster.
This is also quite a treat where I come from, and is enjoyed as an appetizer or bar chow. Cut your choice of cheese into sticks and wrap them up and fry them. They’ll turn out crunchy on the outside, and cheesy and gooey on the inside. When making this, it’s extra important to make sure the wrapping is well-sealed, or else the melted cheese will leak out and end up at the bottom of the fryer.
This is delicious with a tomato based dip, such as marinara or salsa.
This one is fairly novel, one that was encountered during a recent dinner out. Refrigerate the custard first so it’ll be firmer and easier to slice and wrap. Deep fry and drizzle with caramel sauce after.
Crab Stick and Basil
My sister is the only person I know who does this, but it really is exceptionally scrumptious. Make a slit along each crab stick and insert a sliver of basil and a dab of minced garlic.
And if you want to go hard core and make the wrappers from scratch, here’s a tutorial.
It’s Foodie Tuesday!
I spent the holiday season with my relatives in Manila, and it sure had me waddling through rivers of the sweet and gooey. I tell you, I was caught in a perpetual sugar haze, with my niece and fellow sweet tooth, Laura, for company. We went through a stream of endless desserts punctuated by the occasional entree. I probably exaggerate, but not by much, I think.
One of the things that Laura acquainted me with was her maple and bacon cupcake, which had me ooh-ing with delight. Savory flavors work so amazingly in desserts! In same way that a little acidity provides a lovely counterpoint to rich and creamy ingredients, a little umami, or savoriness, cuts through the rich sweetness in desserts and kicks them up a notch higher. That’s why a pinch of salt goes a long way, and cheese is a favorite ingredient.
Laura and I tried Merry Moo’s salted caramel ice cream in one of the weekend markets in Manila, and it’s gotta be one of the best ice creams I’ve ever tasted! We were also dying to try Sebastian’s green mango sorbet with shrimp paste topping (it’s sweet, tart, and edgy, less fattening, and with an exotic Asian spin) but sadly never got around to it. Well, maybe next time.
There are many other new dessert concoctions that go really all in with the savory. Ingredients that one would normally find in main courses can now be encountered in the last (and best) course. These truly carry an element of risk and require a little daring and an open mind in order to enjoy.
I’m ready to make some of these savory desserts myself. I looked around for recipes I can try, and found these two below.
Here’s a sort-of-savory dessert that I’d like to try — black sesame sweet tofu. It seems easy enough, and I love anything that has to do with beancurd. Click on the image for the recipe.
And who doesn’t love bacon? It’s what got me started on this post. There’s something about it’s salty porky goodness that makes you want to eat more of whatever dish it has graced with its yummy presence. This bacon baklava is slightly more complicated than the sweet tofu, but hey, it’s bacon. It’s always going to be worth the try.