May 09, 2008

steel cut oats

oatmeal is my choice of breakfast during the week mainly because it's nice and warm, and i add so much brown sugar to it that it's almost syrupy... and, ok, it only keeps me full for about 2hrs, after which i am instantly starving!
now i'm talking about regular quick-cooking oats that you find everywhere. a friend of ours was talking about steel cut oats a few weeks back and i thought i'd give it a try. so i searched for it. even the whole foods near me didn't have any when i looked, and guess where i finally found some... super target. didn't i say super target is awesome?
so i read the instructions on the box, and decided that cooking oats for 30mins in the morning when i'm hungry was not the way to go. i went the pre-soaking way. so i boiled a few cups of water in a pot, then stirred in the oats... then turned off the heat and covered the pot. the oats soaked over night and would be ready in 10-12mins the next morning. so the box said.
along with the omelette below, i also cooked the oats. when i turned the heat on, i also added some cinnamon and cardamon to the pot as the oats cooked. after about 10mins i checked and left it to cook for another 3-5mins. (after 10mins it was a little too chewy for me)
once it was cooked, i drizzled some organic honey and toasted coconut.
yum! ok i'm lying. my tastebuds weren't thrilled with the first spoonful, but it definitely has more flavor than regular oats! next time, i'll omit the organic honey though. i think it gave the oats a strange taste.
e loved it though. he finished the whole bowl!

cPe 2008

loaded omelette

it was (yet another) grey and rainy saturday morning that called for sleeping in a bit. so once e and i finally made it out of bed and downstairs into the kitchen, we were both starving. i like sweet things for breakfast, but really, only eggs can fill me up well enough so that i'm only hungry again hours later. and e - he always wants eggs.
so i made an omelette with toast, as well as steel cut oats (please see that post). i must say, this omelette was very good. and add some valentina hot sauce... yum!

loaded omelette
4 eggs - preferably brown, cage-free ;-)
1/2 cup of organic 2% milk
1 shallot, diced
4-5 shiitake mushrooms, diced
handful of diced red peppers
handful of diced green peppers
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 "slices" of laughing cow cheese
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp paprika
kosher salt & pepper

in a small pan (i cheated and used a crepe pan), heat the butter on medium-high. once it has melted, saute the shallots, garlic, mushrooms, and peppers. in a glass bowl, add the eggs and milk and whip it up well. add kosher salt and pepper to taste, as well as the paprika (optional). once the veggies have cooked down, add the eggs to the pan and cook on medium. as the eggs begin to cook, cut up the laughing cow cheese into small cubes and add onto the eggs. flip half of the omelette over, and serve with toast or an english muffin, and a good cup of coffee.
buen provecho!

cPe 2008

the perfect trio

during my recent grocery splurge at mitsuwa, i decided to pick up a pack of 2 wagyu steaks. it was friday afternoon, and i really wanted a good steak with simple sides that wouldn't detract.
last time i was at mistuwa, there were signs everywhere, advertising this wagyu beef. i didn't know much about it then, so i skipped it, but i read up about it a bit recently.
if you want to know what the hype is, please read here and here.

so for this very quick and delicious friday night dinner, i also picked up a bottle of kimchi. i've recently been dreaming of pickled veggies... strange, i know.
i'm sorry, maybe one day i'll make some myself... but for now, the bottled one is fine.
and to go with that... rice. sushi rice.
for the steaks, only sprinkle with some kosher salt and pepper, and drizzle a bit of olive oil on each side prior to grilling. i have a grill pan, which is what i used, but i can only imagine how yummy these steaks would be cooked on a real grill!

cPe 2008

May 02, 2008

roast chicken and potatoes

a whole chicken always scared me. especially looking at it raw. i never wanted to touch it. and roasting a whole one? i don't think so.
well, i didn't think so. until i found the easiest recipe known to mankind. it's no wonder this recipe has so many great reviews. it's so simple and the result is a deliciously moist roast chicken with a salty crispy skin! so the hubby and i gloved ourselves and got ready to prepare the chicken.
i also parboiled potatoes (already cut into serving size) then threw them into the roasting pan half way through the chicken's cooking time. i like to leave my chicken in to roast a bit longer than the recipe calls for, but that's because the skin just gets better and better. :)


My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken - Bouchon, October 2004
Mon Poulet Rôti

one 2-3lb organic chicken
kosher salt & black pepper
2 teaspoons minced thyme (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, it's a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.
Now, salt the chicken — I like to rain the salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it's cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone — I don't baste it, I don't add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don't want.
Roast it until it's done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.

sidenote: i've made this 3 times now, and i haven't trussed the chicken yet. maybe i'll try next time. :)

cPe 2008

a makeshift smore

we were all out of cookies, sweets, biscuits. whatever you want to call it. all out. and i had a major craving for a biscuit with my tea (cookie to the americans).
so i rummaged through the pantry hoping to find at least 1 random biscuit in a hidden box somewhere. there was not one. so i pouted for a minutes, tried to get e to make a target run to get me some, hoping he'd feel sorry for me. he wasn't having it though, since we were both in our pj's and pretty much ready for bed. so he got up and rummaged the pantry.
out came a box of graham crackers, honey pb, and his secret weapon - nutella, as always.
and so began the making of the makeshift snack: sandwich a dollop of peanut butter and nutella between graham crackers and you've got yourself a delicious little smore-wannabe.

thanks e!

sidenote: since this snack was made, e has gotten me 3 boxes of biscuits.. 1 box of english shortbread, and 2 boxes of 'le petite ecolier' :)

cPe 2008

May 01, 2008

coconut rice pudding

while browsing tastespotting yesterday, i came across a recipe for rice pudding. and for the rest of the day, all i could think about was rice pudding. so i started looking for recipes on epicurious, and found a recipe for coconut rice pudding. i randomly had a can of organic coconut milk in my pantry that i've been wanting to use. this was the perfect use.
here's the recipe i used.

coconut rice pudding from gourmet, march 2004
1 1/2 cups cold unsalted cooked rice
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Simmer rice, milk, coconut milk, sugar, and salt, uncovered, in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 40 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Serve warm.

my adaptations: i used an entire can of coconut milk (2 cups), and then added 1 cup of organic 2% milk. the only rice i had on hand was basmati - i used that and it worked perfectly. also, i was all out of vanilla extract, so i added 1 tsp of organic honey instead. some cardamon also found its way into the pot because i love the flavor.
and... because i was so impatient, i definitely did not simmer and stir for 40mins. i think i did it for maybe 15mins - but my rice was tender and the liquids had thickened nicely by then.
once it's done you can serve as is, or add some toasted coconut or maybe toasted almonds. i just added a sprinkling of cardamon to the top.

result: this is a delicious rice pudding. it didn't taste like coconut to me... maybe a coconut extract would do the trick. however, it tasted like kheer to me! so delicious!
i stored the leftovers in the fridge, and i can't wait to get a spoonful of the cold rice pudding when i get home!

cPe 2008

karē udon

as mentioned in my previous post, my pantry seems to be empty. i need to do some shopping, i know. on friday i will. anyway, along with the lack of necessaties like cookes for tea (shortbread cookies to be exact), ichiban (my guilty pleasure) and veggies... i am all out of rice! ok i have basmati rice, but you can't eat japanese food with basmati rice. i'm not that desperate yet.

it was a cold, stormy thursday afternoon and i wanted comfort food. so i decided to make japanese curry (kare)... and use the last box of udon noodles. i actually had a pack of katsu-retsu (pork cutlets), so this quick dinner was a done deal. i got out my coating tray set and started setting it all up. i had to defrost the katsu-retsu in the microwave, which i hate to do, but i forgot to take it out of the freezer that morning. at 5:55am when i'm leaving for work my brain is hardly thinking about dinner... it's solely focused on soy chai. anyway! for those of you who love kare, using udon noodles is a nice substitute for rice - thanks closet cooking for the idea! there are 3 parts to this meal, which can all be cooked simultaneously. just make sure not to forget about the boiling noodles and overcook them.

part 1: udon boil udon. done. :)

part 2: kare
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 diced onion
1/2 red pepper, julienned
2 blocks of kare
about 1 and 1/2 cups of water

steps: heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the onions and red peppers. once the onions have browned, add the water and kare blocks and stir. the sauce will thicken quickly, so stir from time to time to avoid lumps. taste the kare. if it's too strong for you, add more water and let it reduce a bit more. once it's done, simmer on very low heat until part 3 is complete.

part 3: tonkatsu

1 pack of katsu-retsu (approximately 4-5 cutlets)
1 egg, whisked
1/2 cup of flour
1 cup of panko
salt & pepper
2-3 tbsp olive oil

steps: thoroughly rinse and dry the katsu. season with salt & pepper. coat the cutlet in flour, then dip in the egg wash, and finally in the panko bread crumbs. make sure the cutlet is coated fully. slowly fry the coated cutlets in olive oil, on
medium-high. if the coating starts to burn, turn it down to medium. it all depends on your stove.

once everything is done, add a heap of noodles to a bowl, slice the tonkatsu and lay it over the udon. then pour over some kare (i like lots!), and your deliciously comforting dinner is ready!

douzo meshiagare! どうぞめしあがれ !

cPe 2008

tuna melt

my pantry seems to be running bare these days... well, ok - it's not bare, i just can't see anything to use at first glance. on a saturday afternoon when i'm suddenly and instantly starving, i really didn't want to run to the grocery store or to the closest fastfood spot, so i had to resort to searching the pantry.

cannellini beans. all kinds of pasta. coconut milk. udon soup mix. salt & vinegar chips. olive oil. you get the picture.

so while i munched on the salt & vinegar chips, i continued scanning the pantry and found a few cans of tuna. checked the fridge for any kind of cheese at this point, and found mozzerella slices. YES! tuna melt sandwiches will do the trick.

so i turned the oven onto 350 and got to chopping up the green pepper. i know most people add onion to their tuna salad, but i really don't like raw onion taste, so i omitted that completely. and then i used my secret ingredient - wasabi mayonnaise - yum!

this is a very simple lunch to put together, and here are my estimations:

tuna melt
2 cans of tuna (in water, not oil)
1/2 green pepper, diced
kosher salt & pepper
1 tbsp mayo
1 tbsp wasabi mayo
2 slices of mozzerella cheese
some smoked paprika
2 slices of bread (i used whole grain)

turn the oven onto 350ºF. add the tuna into a bowl (completely drain the tuna). chop up the green pepper (and onion if you like) and add that to the bowl. then season to taste with salt and pepper. add the regular mayo and the wasabi mayo and mix it all thoroughly.
spread a good amount of the tuna salad onto two slices of bread, top with the slice of cheese, and sprinkle some paprika on the cheese.
then pop them into the oven for about 10mins, or until the cheese has melted nicely.

serve right out of the oven! - i like my sandwiches open-faced.

cPe 2008