Friday, May 29, 2015

Peanut Butter Brownies

½ C butter (110 gm)
1 C sugar
2 eggs
½ t vanilla
¾ C sifted flour
scant ½ t baking powder
scant ¼ t salt
3 T peanut butter
3 T cocoa powder
¼ C chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Melt the butter by placing your metal mixing bowl in the preheating oven. While you do that, get your other ingredients ready.

When the butter is nearly melted, take it out of the oven and mix it around until it all melts. Whisk in the sugar, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla.

Sift the baking powder and salt into the flour and mix around. Add to the wet ingredients. 

Divide the batter into two bowls. Add peanut butter to one half, and cocoa and chips to the other half.

Put the different batters in a checkerboard pattern in an 8" square pan lined with parchment paper. Swirl and spread with a knife or spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


a slice of bread
1 egg

Put the bread on a cutting board, and press a glass cup into the center to make a hole. Butter one side of the bread. 

Heat frying pan over a low flame. 

Place the bread, buttered side down, on the heated pan. Put a little bit of butter into the hole so the egg won't stick. When it's melted, carefully break the egg into the hole. 

Place the circle of bread, butter side down, beside the bread in the pan to toast it.

While it's cooking, carefully butter the top of the bread.

When the egg is cooked enough to turn it, slide your spatula under the egg and turn over the bread and egg as one. (Flip the little circle, too.) Cook the egg to your desired doneness. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Inarizushi (Sushi in fried tofu pockets)

Serves 4-5


2 C raw Japanese rice (In the US, I used Koshihikari)
3 T apple cider vinegar
½ T sugar
¼ t salt

1-2 T sesame seeds

For abura-age preparation:

6 pieces of abura-age (thin fried tofu), cut in half to make pockets

 C dashi stock
1 T sugar
2 T mirin
3 T soy sauce

pickled ginger (Amazon sells it here)

While the rice is cooking, rinse the abura-age, and then simmer, covered, in mixture of dashi stock, sugar, mirin, and soy sauce for about 15 minutes. Move the pieces around once or twice during cooking to be sure all get flavored. When cool, drain, and set aside.

Mix vinegar, sugar, and salt together. While lightly stirring and fluffing the cooked rice, sprinkle on the vinegar mixture. Keep fluffing and sprinkling until all is used. The rice grains should each be shiny and not clumped together.

Mix the sesame seeds into the rice.

Form the rice into little rounded rectangles just the size to fit into the pockets. Put them on a flat surface and pull the abura-age down over them, one by one. Turn them right side up. Serve with pickled ginger.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Rich Chocolate Roll Cake

Adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe.

Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF).

Sift together:

½ C + 3 T flour
½ C sugar
½ C cocoa (as always, Van Houten) 
1½ t baking powder
¾ t salt


3 eggs
2 t vanilla 
½ C grapeseed (or other mildly flavored oil)

Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients and set aside.


4 egg whites (room temperature are easier to whisk)

When the whites have formed soft peaks, add:

¼ C sugar

Whip until firm. Fold the egg whites, little by little, into the batter. Bake in a parchment paper lined pan for 12-15 minutes, or until cake springs back gently when touched in the center.

Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then loosen the sides with a knife and gently turn the cake over onto a rack. Get a tea towel, and sprinkle on it a very light layer of fine-grained sugarLay the cake on the sugared towel, roll it up carefully, and put it on the rack to cool.

When the cake is cooled, unroll it, remove the towel, and fill with chocolate whipped cream. 

200 ml whipping cream
2 T cocoa powder
3 T sugar
(2-3 t coffee liqueur, Irish cream, espresso, whatever you like)

Whip cream, and when it is nearly done, add the other ingredients. Whip until fairly firm.

Fill and re-roll the cake. Finish with the seam side down. Cover with whipped cream into which has been added a little sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract.

If you want, you can cut a diagonal across the cake (before final icing) and make it into a log shape.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Chocolate Roll Cake (Simple Version)

This is a very mildly flavored cake.

Preheat oven to 190ºC (375ºF).

Line a long, thin pan with cooking parchment. If you have a jelly roll cake pan (10½"X15½"), use that. 

Prepare your ingredients. You will need 3 bowls (one for mixing the cake, one for whipping egg whites, and one for sifting the dry ingredients into). Two whisks are also handy, one for the cake, and one for the egg whites.

4 eggs
¾ C sugar
1 t vanilla
3 T flour
3 T cocoa powder - I prefer Van Houten  
½ t cream of tartar
 t salt
fine or powdered sugar (for dusting)

whipped cream
shaved chocolate

Separate the eggs. Put the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another. 

Whip the egg yolks until light and airy. While continuing to whip, gradually add ½ C sugar and then the vanilla. Set aside.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt together into a bowl.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture. Set aside.

Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff. Add ¼ C sugar to the whites and whip until peaks form. Use a spatula to gently fold the whites into the batter. Continue folding until the batter is one color.

Gently spread the batter in your pan, and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned and bounces back when gently touched.

Loosen the sides with a knife and gently turn the cake over onto a cooling rack. Get a tea towel, and sprinkle on it a very light layer of fine-grained sugar. Lay the cake on the sugared towel, roll it up carefully, and put it on the rack to cool.

When the cake is cooled, unroll it, remove the towel, and fill with whipped cream or chocolate whipped cream. To make that, whip the cream and then add 10-20 grams of dark chocolate that has been melted in the microwave with a little coffee liqueur or espresso, then cooled before whipping into the cream.

Re-roll the cake after filling and finish with the seam side down.

If you like, drizzle a little chocolate sauce on the top and decorate with shaved chocolate.

Refrigerate the cake until serving.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Japanese Croquettes

2 C mashed potatoes
250 grams minced chicken
1 minced onion
(1-2 cloves garlic - minced)
1 T olive oil
3 eggs
panko (Japanese Dry Bread Crumbs)
Canola oil for frying

To make the mashed potatoes

Wash thoroughly (no need to peel) and cut into roughly 1½ cm cubes:

About 500 grams potatoes

Place in a pot, and almost cover completely with water. A few little bits sticking out from the top of the water is not a problem.  


½ t salt

Cover and boil until soft. Test by sticking a fork into one of the bigger pieces. It should go in easily.

Remove from heat and drain the water by holding the lid of the pan slightly askew and allowing the water to pour out (but not the potatoes).


1-1½ T butter
(a little milk)

Mash the potatoes. They should be a little on the dry side, not creamy. You want them to hold together into patties.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the olive oil in a frying pan, and stir fry the onions, (garlic), and meat.

Mix the mashed potatoes and the meat together thoroughly, adding salt and a little pepper to taste.

Make patties using about ¼ C mixture for each. (You'll probably get about 12.)

Put about ½ C flour in a disposable plastic bag. Scramble the eggs in a bowl. Put about 1 C bread crumbs in a disposable plastic bag.

Now, take the patties one-by-one and first coat them with flour, then dip them in the eggs, and finally coat them with bread crumbs. When you have enough ready, you can start frying them. Handle them gently.

Heat about 1cm of canola oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan. As always, the oil is hot enough when the ends of a wooden chopstick put into the oil bubbles. 

Carefully place a single layer of patties in the oil. When they are golden brown, turn them carefully and brown the other side. Drain on a grill over newspaper. 

If you have leftovers, they can be used in an obento or reheated in a toaster oven or grill to crisp the outsides.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Gravy for Roast Fowl

To make gravy, you need to use equal portions of fat and flour. If your roast fowl did not provide enough fat, use a little butter, too.

This recipe makes just over 1 cup of gravy.


2 T fatty drippings from your roast chicken 

in a sauce pan. Heat it and add: 

2 T flour

Whisk until blended and smooth. Stir in slowly: 

the juices from the pan plus milk or chicken broth to make 1 cup

Simmer for about 5 minutes. Season with: 

salt and pepper 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Roast Chicken

Preheat oven to 230ºC (450ºF).

Clean all the little bits of gross stuff out of the interior of your chicken. Rinse it out and pat it dry with paper towels. Just before cooking, fill the cavity loosely, no more than ¾ full, with rice stuffing or whatever stuffing you prefer. Close the cavities with a skewer. Fold the wings back securely behind the chicken. Tie the legs together at the ankles with string.

Place chicken, breast side up, on a grill above a baking pan, and cover the top of the bird lightly with foil. Place the pan in the oven. Turn down over to 180ºC (350ºF). Roast for about 20 minutes per pound. Remove the foil towards the end of cooking to allow the top to brown. 

There are a few ways to be sure your bird is cooked:

Move one of the legs; the joint should feel loose.
Liquid that runs from a pricked bird should be clear, not pink.
If you have a thermometer, the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh meat (be careful not to let the thermometer touch the bone) should be 74ºC (165ºF).

When done, remove the chicken from the oven and place on a platter. Allow to cool 10 minutes before carving. 

While it's cooling, use the pan drippings to make gravy.

To carve, hold the knee with a fork, gently pull it away from the body, and use your knife to cut away the leg. Carefully separate the joint by twisting the tip of your knife between the 2 bones. Divide the thigh from the drumstick similarly. Slice the breast starting at the neck area, and cut thin slices against the grain along the length of the breast. Your knife should be somewhat parallel to the contour of the breast. Arrange artfully on a platter or serve directly to plates.