Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Almond Butter Cookies


Beat:

½ C butter

Add and beat:

½ C brown sugar
½ C white sugar
(OR 1 C Japanese brown sugar)

Beat in:

1 egg
1 C almond butter (OR ½ C almond butter + ½ C peanut butter)
½ t salt
½ t baking soda
½ t vanilla extract

Add:

1-1½ C flour (more or less, depending on the wetness of the nut butters)

Press dough into about a 2 cm flat square. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or freeze in a ziplock freezer bag.

Cut into 2 cm cubes, and place 5 cm apart on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. To flatten them a bit, press with a fork once across and again from top to bottom. 
Bake at 190ºC (375ºF) for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Simple Ministrone


Heat 2 T oil in a deep saucepan. Add:

150 grams chopped bacon

Stir fry until golden. Then add:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
2 carrots, peeled and roughly cut
½ t oregano
⅓ t basil
½ t salt
½ t pepper

Stir fry until garlic and onions are tender. Add:

2 potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
1 can mixed beans, rinsed
2 cans chopped tomatoes

1 liter of water plus 3½ t Better than Bouillon or other bouillon
OR
1 liter stock

Stir until mixed. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked. If a fork goes into a potato easily, it is cooked.

Add:

100 grams broken pasta

After about 5 minutes, add:

1½ C chopped cabbage or other greens

Cook the pasta for about 10 minutes in all or until pasta is al dente. Taste. Season with salt and pepper. Add more bouillon if necessary.

Serve. Top with fresh basil and/or grated cheese.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Frappuccino


Be sure to use a blender that can blend ice. This recipe makes 2 servings.

Pour in to reach the top of the blades:

water

Add:

1 pack of ice coffee concentrate
2 t Kahlúa (mocha or regular)
1 T cocoa mix (2 parts cocoa to 3 parts fine sugar, like kibi-sato)
(sugar to taste)

Blend, and gradually add:

1 tray of frozen milk sticks, made in water-bottle ice cube trays (long and thin ice)
(5 small ice cubes)

When everything is blended to your desired consistency, it's done.

If you want to make a chocolate shake, just leave out the coffee concentrate and add a little extra cocoa mix.

Banana shake

Pour in to reach the top of the blades:

milk

Add:

½ frozen banana
½ t vanilla extract
1 t sugar

Blend, and gradually add:

½ tray of frozen milk sticks, made in water-bottle ice cube trays (long and thin ice) about 5-6 sticks
(3-5 small ice cubes)

Monday, July 2, 2018

No-bake Stuffed Peppers and Eggplant


Prepare vegetables

The number of green peppers and eggplant you will need depends on their size. I used 8 small green peppers and one Japanese eggplant for this recipe. 

Cut green peppers in half and carefully remove seeds, some pith, and the stems. Rinse and put open-side down in a sieve to dry. Wash the eggplant and cut lengthwise, leaving on stem. Cut out about ½ cm from the edge all around, and then scoop out the center part of the eggplant with a spoon. Chop the center part and set aside.

Filling

Finely mince:


1 garlic clove
½ onion

Mix lightly with:

½ pack tofu (first rinse it and squeeze out as much liquid as you can)
⅓ C Japanese bread crumbs (panko)
1 egg
about 300 grams minced chicken
¼ t salt (more or less)
¼ t pepper (more or less)

Gently fill peppers and eggplant with meat mixture extending about ½ cm over the tops. Place on a plate until all vegetables are filled.

Heat in a frying pan:

1-2 T garlic infused olive (or other) oil 

Turn fire to low and place peppers and eggplant in the pan meat side down. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn them over, cover, and cook for another 3 minutes or so until the meat is cooked and vegetables are soft.

Put foil on a grill tray. (In Japan, I use the fish grill portion of the stove.) Place peppers and eggplant meat side up on the foil. Sprinkle cheese on top of the meat. (Be careful not to let a bunch of cheese fall on the foil.) Grill until cheese is melted. While the vegetables are grilling, stir-fry the center part of the eggplant, salt, and serve as a side.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Pan-fried Chicken with Garlic and Lemon


Slice 2-3 chicken breasts lengthwise to make two thin slices each. 

Rub with:

1 clove finely grated garlic or garlic paste

Coat lightly with: 

flour mixed with salt and pepper

Heat in a frying pan:

1 T olive oil 
1 T butter

When hot, turn flame to medium low. Shake off excess flour and lay chicken in the pan. Cook for 3 minutes on one side, turn over and cook for 3 minutes on the other side. Cut the thickest one and make sure it is white (cooked) all the way through.

Put the chicken on a plate, and pour on one of the following sauces:

Sauce 1

¼ C lemon juice
2-3 T honey, to taste

Sauce 2

¼ C lemon juice
2 T water
¼ C honey 
A pinch of salt
1 T cornstarch - mixed with 3 T water until smooth

Heat lemon juice, water, honey, and salt. When very hot, add cornstarch mixed with water. Keep stirring until slightly thickened.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Bread Machine Prep

Bags of homemade bread mix stored in an airtight container.

My son and I have been take a few minutes after dinner once a month or so to prepare bags of bread mix. This has greatly simplified making bread and has had the added benefit of making it almost impossible to spill any flour outside of the bread pan when putting ingredients in the machine.

Each bag contains:

100 gm whole wheat bread flour
150 gm white bread flour
2 T* brown sugar
1 T milk powder
1 t salt

When it's time to put on some bread, put into the bread machine:

10-15 gm butter
180 ml cold water for regular bread or 170 ml cold water for sandwich bread
1 bag of flour mix
1 t dried yeast 

If your machine doesn't have a special place to put the yeast, make a shallow well in the center of the flour and pour the yeast there. The yeast should not touch the water. 

The finished product, with added sunflower seeds.
* If you are using Japanese measurements, 1 T is approximately 1 大さじ, 1 t is approximately 1 小さじ.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Spicy Garlic Pork

Marinate 500 grams of thinly sliced pork for 30 minutes in:

2 T light brown sugar
3 T soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
1-2 t tobanjan
(or other chili paste)
1 t minced ginger
¼ t ground pepper
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced into thin crescents


Heat a little canola or other flavorless oil in a frying pan. Stir fry the meat and onions. (Cover and leave over a low flame for a couple minutes, if you like.) Turn up the fire and stir fry to darken the onions and evaporate most of the sauce. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Swiss Butter Cookies


Melt:

½ C + 1 T butter

Set aside.

Whisk in a large bowl:

2 eggs

Blend into the eggs and beat until thick, about 10 minutes:

½ C + 2 T white sugar

Mix in:

the melted lukewarm butter
a smidgen of salt
(¼ t vanilla or lemon essence)

Fold in:

1½ t grated lemon rind (just the yellow part, not any white part. Don't forget to wash and dry the lemon first.)
2 C white flour

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Alternatively, you can freeze the dough in batches. Wrap each batch in plastic, then put in a ziplock freezer bag.

Preheat oven to 170C (325F).

Lightly flour a clean surface, your rolling pin, and the bottom of a cookie cutter. Roll dough into about ½ cm (¼ inch) thickness, cut with a cookie cutter. Place the cutouts on a thinly buttered sheet of parchment paper (or baking pan or cookie sheet.) Ball up the scraps and roll out again until you've used all the dough.

Spread the tops of cookie with egg yolk. Bake until golden at the edges, for 12-15 minutes. Cool for a minute on the sheet before moving them to a cooling rack.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Broccoli Sprouts


Day 1 
Soak 1-2 T broccoli seeds for about 10 hours.

Day 2 morning and evening
Drain, rinse with fresh water, drain.
Cover with gauze and a rubber band.
Place in a warm, dark place, like under the sink.
Day 3 morning and evening
Rinse with fresh water, drain. Repeat if the water seems cloudy.
Cover with gauze and a rubber band.
Put them back in the warm, dark place.
The fuzzy bits are roots, not mold.

Day 4 morning and evening
The same routine: rinse, drain, put back.

Day 5 morning
Rinse with fresh water, drain. Repeat if the water seems cloudy. 
By this time, your sprouts should be pretty good-sized. If you want, take some out and place them in sunlight for a couple hours to get nice and green to use that day. Return the rest to the cool, dark place, covered with gauze.
After sunshine
Day 5 evening
Rinse with fresh water, drain. Repeat once or twice. 

Day 6 morning
Rinse with fresh water, drain. Repeat once or twice. 
Place the jar in indirect sunlight for a couple hours, then cover and refrigerate. 

Tips

  • Broccoli sprouts take 4-6 days to grow.
  • Excess moisture is bad. The seeds should be damp, but not wet. Don't leave any water at the bottom of the jar after rinsing.
  • On day 2-3, when tiny roots appear, they will look fuzzy. That is not mold. If they get moldy, they will smell foul.
  • I rinse mine only morning and evening. Others suggest rinsing them 3-4 times a day. 
  • You can start eating them from about day 4. Just give them some indirect sunlight first to make them green. Direct sunshine might cook them.
  • You may want to start another batch on about day 4 in order to have a constant supply of fresh sprouts.
  • Store finished sprouts in a covered container in the refrigerator. Minimize moisture by removing the brown hulls.
  • 1 T of seeds seems to make about 3 cups of sprouts.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Corn on the Cob


Place an ear of corn, still in its husk, inside a plastic bag. Tie it loosely. Actually, you don't need to put it in a bag, as is works just fine.



Put it in the center of the microwave. Set the timer for 4 minutes, 30 seconds or so less if the corn is small. 



Use an oven mitt to remove the corn from the microwave. You might want to let it cool for a minute. Then, while holding the top, cut all the way through just above where the husks are attached. No need to remove the bag.



Pick up the corn by the top and gently shake. The corn will fall out of its husk, minus all silk.