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Everything posted by Cheeko

  1. It's funny, sometimes I forget that even within the US, there are different types of strawberry shortcake. Where I grew up (New England) the strawberry shortcake I saw and ate at restaurants were scone-like biscuits that were soaked in mascerated strawberries, then covered in whipped-cream. Very delicious However at home, mom made the strawberry shortcake that she knew and it was definitely not a scone. It was (and still is) a very simple sponge cake. I'll post her recipe, but keep in mind, she's one of those "cook it 'til its done" types so you might want to combine your own baking experiences to make this one work. If you've made kasutera, this recipe is very much like that. Anyways: 6 eggs, room temperature 1 cup of sugar 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of AP Flour* Beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture becomes very thick and a pale yellow. This could take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. Again, if you've made kasutera, basically you'll need to beat them to that consistency. Add the flour and (as mom would say,) if you want you can add vanilla extract. She usually adds a generic teaspoon. Pour batter into two parchment lined cake pans Now here comes the maddening part. She bakes it at 350 "until its done." Might be 20 minutes? I don't know for sure. She just takes it out when she says she "smells cake." I know what she means - once you start to smell the cake, do the usual toothpick test and if it comes out clean then its done. Recently, she's been getting very fancy with adding a sugar-rum syrup when they first come out of the oven. Its pretty good, but not really necessary when you're dealing with really good strawberries. Then she just whips up whipped cream (about 2 pints) with confectioners sugar (to taste) and divides the batch in half. To one batch she'll mix in some chopped-up, macerated strawberries and sugar. She'll use this mixture for filling inbetween the two cakes. The other half covers the cake, then decorate the top with whole strawberries. I have a Tsujiguchi recipe for shortcake - from all places, a Hello Kitty netsuke! Its in Japanese and I don't have it translated. Might be time to do that.... * I'm not sure - but I think Japanese flour might have slightly more gluten in it than American flour? If thats the case, you can make the cake with bread machine flour. That's what I use for kastura.
  2. I like okoge, too. You mean you bought that rice cooker?! It seems that your first(?) takikomi gohan came out nicely. It doesn't look soggy at all. Coincidentally, I made maitake takikomi gohan for supper yesterday. My favoriate types of mushroom in takikomi gohan are maitake and oyster mushroom. Hope you can find those where you live. ← Yes, I bought the rice cooker and I love it! Fortunately, the booklet included a recipe for takikomi gohan so I followed "manufacturer's recommendations" for water/seasoning amounts and the ratio for rice to ingredients. The cooker also has the handy "mixed" selection from the menu so the machine did all the hard work for me. Only thing missing? Real okoge Mom says its still possible to get okoge in a rice cooker, but not in one with a teflon coated pan. She quoted the same instructions you posted for cooking in a stove-top pan, but when I mentioned I have an electric stove, she paused and then said, "Why do you have to be so difficult?" Mushrooms: My husband loves mushrooms as well. Last year our local organic market had a much larger selection of mushrooms including oyster and maitake (it's called hen-of-the-woods here, I think). I'm hoping that they're on there way to market because I'd love to try it with a variety of mushrooms. In the meantime, I have two beautiful kabochas waiting to be used for something.
  3. I do now; thanks for the donabe tips as well as the links to the previous threads. What I really want from the donable is that cripsy/chewy/slightly-burnt rice on the sides! I intiated the new Zojirushi (the one with the confusing GABA brown rice cycle) with a "less-is-better" mushroom-carrot-aburaage gohan. I was a little disappointed with the lack of mushroom selection at our organic market; creminis and buttons. Guess I will have to keep waiting. I was going to try it with two different mushrooms, but then the latent superstitious cooker thought I'd better do less or go all out with 5 ingredients. Best not to have four ingredients when initiatiing a new rice cooker... Yup - and he "double-fried" his aburaage
  4. I watched the latest "Iron Chef America" battle with Morimoto. The secret ingredient was tofu, so sure enough he worked in a takikomi-gohan in donabe. I love this guy. It was various mushrooms and abura-age. It's interesting to see his "battle strategies" in this american version of Iron Chef. His dishes are quite simple and fairly traditional like the takikomi-gohan. I guess he too goes with the "less-is-better" approach. BTW, how difficult is it to pull off these recipes in a donabe? Is it worth it?
  5. I think its difficult more for me because these ingredients are very new and "foreign" to me. It can be like baking in that if one ingredient is out of balance with the others, then the whole architecture collapses. Even my mom is not that familiar with the kinds of wagashi I want to make - she admits that for the most part when she was growing up, wagashi was bought or received as gifts. Her contribution to me during this recent battle was "Yes, gyuhi is hard to get right." In a way we put our notes together (her taste memory, my kitchen disasters) and take it from there. When I back up north to visit next summer I look forward to the critique I will receive from my eager tasters. One thing Mom did teach us all - plating matters There is nothing better than that moment of "...wow, it actually works." Yes, it really is addicting and so much more than something that you can eat. I think that's what really keeps me coming back to wagashi. I really love Autumn -- the first delicate hints are showing down here so I had to do something. Plus I had no saikyo miso or gobo so I thought what the hell. I might have been better off using a yatsuhashi style dough, but I wanted that transparency. I actually tried to put a leaf underneath the white layer, but the more I handled the gyuhi the more I lost the transparency. Beautiful rakugan! Since I am an autumnal freak, I don't think its too early to reflect on the changing foliage. That is one thing I truly miss about the north. They don't change color here in the south. They just fall off the trees without ceremony. That reminds me of the topic of Shokuiku. At least for me, I never gave much thought about food other than beyond the "I-am-hungry" point of view. The fact that it could have more meaning than simple nourishment is something that I am drawn to more and more as I learn these recipes. Another "addictive" factor.
  6. After struggling with understanding gyuhi I think I’ve come to understand and appreciate patience. I purchased a kashigata about three months ago and I really wanted to try it out with a nerikiri recipe. I stumbled through a few gyuhi attempts with some success; a strawberry daifuku and an improvised autumnal-themed…something. Although I didn’t feel as if I fully understood what I was doing every step of the way, I felt I could make a decent enough gyuhi to go ahead and make a nerikiri. Suffice it to say, I was very wrong. Even though many wagashi do not involve flour, leaveners and baking, I’m constantly amazed at how similarly unforgiving the process can be when one step, however small, is slightly off. Well, in all honesty, my first attempt at nerikiri was riddled with many off-steps; the first being my overuse of the microwave. I had dried out my shiro koshian in step one, but things went from bad to worse when I added that small portion of gyuhi to the dough. The gyuhi that I had made for my as-yet-to-be-determined autumn wagashi was probably a bit too dry and tough to add to an already too dry batch of shiro koshian. I really should have stopped, but I was determined to try my kashigata. Poor things never stood a chance... I was so disgusted by my last attempt and was beginning to convince myself that it was out of my grasp. Usually when that starts to happen, it triggers the stubborn cells in my blood to boil. After a few weeks of trying to avoid another dry and tasteless nerikiri massacre, I went back to the drawing board and tried a different approach. Although I stuck to the original recipe, I referred back to the Waka-Ayu video I watched on this website. I noticed the consistency of that gyuhi was much softer, more gelatinous than my other gyuhis. I tried again with a little more water and a little more starch syrup and the result was a gyuhi that was soft and gelatinous, but much harder to handle as a skin for daifuku. Again, I can’t say that I know what I’m doing, but this time, the nerikiri dough came out the way I thought it should. The softer gyuhi transformed the bean jam into a very delicate dough that melted on my tongue like a marzipan candy. Although it was easy to handle, it was a constant battle to keep the dough from drying out and cracking (even in tropical Florida).
  7. That is really cute or should I say it's really beautiful. I don't know if its a local specialty, but I have seen version of this on Flickr: Kingyo Sukui and goldfish bowl.
  8. I'm a mac person so Japanese characters are already installed - its how my Safari browser interacts with certain webpages. Most of the time it works except for webpages generated from (big surprise) Microsoft Word... My mistake. I guess the model that I am looking at right now (NH-VBC18) offers not actual germination but a "course in lieu" of the 9-15 hour germination period. If my nifty translator is correct, the model you've linked to refers to this as the previous models' brown rice mode that releases more GABA than a straight cooking course. [i would paste the japanese text, but either my mac/browser isn't agreeing with the rest of the world or the forum software doesn't understand my installed set... oh well. It's listed as #5 on the linked page, loosely translated as :"The original "brown rice activity" menu of ZOJIRUSHI"]
  9. That's strange... According Zojirushi's webpage, http://www.zojirushi.co.jp/corp/news/2003/030729/NPAT.html it takes about 9 to 15 hours at 30oC ← ...which is why I am dubious about this claim of 2 hour germination. I had heard it takes a minimum of 12 hours. But still, I am susceptible to advertisements, and it is the only HI rice-cooker I can find. The cookers I see from your link are probably the more up-to-date models. Wondering if I should just wait for them to make it over to the US market....or I could just keep rehitting the 2 hour germination button (6 or 7 times)
  10. Inspired by thoughts of takikomi gohan, I am currently eye-ing an IH rice cooker from Zojirushi. I am tempted by the induction heating and the brown rice GABA feature (pre-germination) they have on the cooker, but am wondering 1) if the feature really works: "...a newly discovered way of cooking brown rice to “activate” it and increase naturally occurring gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an amino acid in brown rice believed to have health giving properties such as lowering blood pressure, improving kidney function and relieving stress. The brown rice is “activated” by soaking the rice at 104°F for 2 hours before the actual cooking begins. 2 hours is all it needs for germination? Hmmm... Back to google - see if what other companies are peddling these kinds of features.
  11. I am both dying and inspired to try this recipe as well as the carrot/hijiki, mushroom, bamboo shoot, etcetera. Thanks to all for these pictures, experiences and recipes. Yesterday, I bought the first kabocha of the season. I was almost jumping up and down in the store when I saw them. To me, displaced northerner now living in the hot south, the first signs of Autumn are precious. September will be the most sweltering month of the year and maybe, just maybe, October will give us signs of cooler weather and hopefully, no major hurricanes. Before we notice the Fall weather, winter will be here. But the kabocha squash and the giant butternuts! It was like seeing a very dear friends... I am being very nostalgic and silly. Anyway, I will have to wait until at least late October or November before I see chestnuts. But I will try these other offerings with what is locally available. Need to buy a bigger rice cooker too...
  12. Luckily or unluckily for us deprived in the US, Jlist is carrying this particular bento along with these other choices and accessories. bento 2 bento 3 (metal) bento 4 small tupperware fork, spoon & hashi
  13. Here's the nicely packaged matcha katsutera in my husband's hands... When he tried to open one on his own, he crushed the cake poor guy. So from then on, I offered to open the packages for him... nice guy, but not very patient when he wants a taste of a new sweet... Here are some Kyoto omiyage sweets I ordered more for packaging than for content [Kitty geek that I am]. Don't get me wrong, they are quite delicious and delicate, but not what I would call earth-shattering. ...a very buttery sugar cookie depicting Megumi-style Kittychan... ..."gaufrette" filled with matcha-flavored cream. The can illustrations depict the Daimonji and the usual regional landmarks.
  14. My uncle returned from Japan with a couple boxes of that - it's sooo good! The cookies are so light I love the packaging - I wish North Americans would put more effort into their packaging ← --packaging of cookies, cakes, etcetera is a subject of contention in my family I love it too and tend to purchase many omiyage-style treats based on packaging alone. However for my Mom and husband, it drives them insane. My mom will go into a non-stop rant about how ridiculous it is to wrap 1X1" pieces of katsutera in beautifully decorated plastic wrap. She's become quite the anti-waste, recycle queen of the neighborhood. Hubby on the other hand comes from a big family of fierce, manly eaters so "gobble-quick-before-gone" doesn't go in harmony with small portions much less one you have to carefully unwrap. I will post pics of my recent purchases later today...
  15. ...wow... I can't get over those eggs... ...and while were on the subject of unusual ramen items... http://shopping.konekoya.com/asu/ramen/001.html http://shopping.konekoya.com/asu/ramen/003.html http://shopping.konekoya.com/asu/ramen/004.html http://shopping.konekoya.com/asu/ramen/002.html (from my "kitty-geek" explorations )
  16. Looks Heavenly! My husband is so happy I learned to make this dish. I will try it with pork this week.
  17. Cheeko


    Gee -- I would have said shrimp and shiitake, but after reading these posts and seeing some of the gorgeous dishes I've seen would make me think I haven't even begun to live yet... The Shiso-kabocha-mochi gyoza! Sounds good to me, rubbery skins or not
  18. I'd pick curry as well, but I think my area of favorites is convenient store snacks like potato chips (curry flavor), Baum Kuchen and of all things the Apple/Pear Juice. When I saw a colleague drinking it (he was chugging it) I thought it was warm milk. However, I tried some and was hooked.
  19. Helen - thanks for your input. The process is time consuming, but for me there is something a little ritual-like in taking the time to do these sort of steps. Sort of like making coffee with a french press in the morning versus the coffee maker John - are you able to get these flours in the Boston area or from Corti Brothers? If you have pictures of some of the wagashi you have been working on, would you share some if you have the time? Otherwise I will have to torture all these nice people with my gyuhi disasters Hiroyuki - Blue Star mochiko is the only rice flour that I new of until recently. Mom always used it when she made daifuku -- therefor, I have a lot of sentimental attachments to the flour and even its box. It hasn't changed in 30 years!
  20. Is it possible that jinko is the same as the wheat starch they use to make some of the Chinese dim sum items like har gao? I'm guessing that it probably is very similar, just doesn't have the dashi influence??
  21. Hiroyuki; Thanks for the link - I am always reminded that there are so many ways to make things like dango such as the steaming, boiling and flours used. Your link was the first time I've seen jyoshinko used exclusively. Then again, its all new to me . When I eat mitarashi, I like the mochiko dango - probably a call back to my memories of New Years day. When I eat sweet dango, I prefer the jyoshinko/shiratamako mix, especially in daifuku. My least favorite texture from this experiment was the plain shiratamko. Just a bit too "glutinous-gooey" for me. I will try it boiled next time around. Right now, I am struggling with making a gyuhi that I remember having a long, long time ago. Time has probably idealized that experience. Recipes and techniques are differing quite a bit so I wanted to know the flours a little more before I try understand what has gone wrong with each of my batches. Helen; I really enjoyed reading whole your blog. Of particular interest to me was your posts on making koshian - something that I've become strangely fond of for stress-management I was wondering what your thoughts are on the process of the soaking after the first boil and then bringing the beans to a boil and then changing the water several times. I've done it because I'm afraid not to, but is it supposed to have an affect on the flavor? Or is it for texture?
  22. Decided to try the experiment with the different rice flours. I was not expecting to be able to tell much from the test, but it turned out rather surprising (and quite entertaining as I try to ignore hurricane Ernesto's projected path...) At first glance, things look fine. Dough textures are definitely interesting to compare! I used just the flours, water and food coloring so I could keep track of the batches: pink = plain shiratamako white = plain mochiko green = 70% shiratamako and 30% jyoshinko mix I decided to steam the batches at the same time - no reason other than a bit of laziness, but after seeing the results, I'm glad I did The shiratamako was very bubbly and airy - made me think of cake flour. Of course, once the steaming was done and I took them out of the steamer -- --the shiratamako ones totally deflated. Probably why it might do better being boiled than steamed? The mochiko held its shape the best and the mixed batch came up second. Taste & texture: pink = very smooth and very chewy, almost like bubble gum. Took a long time to dissolve on the tongue. white = grainy texture, a little less chewy, quicker to dissolve on the tongue green = smooth, but by far the nicest bite, very little gumminess, fastest to dissolve. I was amazed that the jyoshinko addition to the shiratamako would make such a difference. It really places the mix between the two extremes.
  23. Actually, our organic food mart does not carry pork, just beef and chicken. I must also admit, the recipe I used for the seasoning measurements was from a very gifted 14 year old from Texas. Next time around, I will try pork and a little less sugar.
  24. After reading this thread and looking at all of torakris' delicious looking pics, I wanted to try this dish for my husband. He loved it. Grabbed the recipe from here: http://www.recipezaar.com/111412 We didn't have shiitake, but I had an acorn squash that was waiting for a reason to be used. Amazing how wonderfully the flavors go so well together... My grilled brown-rice onigiri was not so successful, but I just pretended that's the way it should look when its grilled. Of course, hubby just smiled like he believed me. I poured the broth over the broken onigiri - he loved it too.
  25. Helenjp and Hiroyuki - thanks for your input. I think I will do a kushidango or something like it just to see what flours, steaming vs. boiling result. Also Helenjp, I just found your foodblog thanks to link within this topic; still learning to navigate around here. It's wonderful and just what I was looking for.
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