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torakris

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by torakris

  1. WOW!! I was planning on posting about kaki (persimmons) today. Kaki is the Japanese word for persimmon, I never realized they used that word out of Japan as well. There are two main types hachiya (with a pointed bottom) and fuyu (with a flat bottom) as well as many others. It is kaki season in Japan and everywhere you turn the trees are just dripping with them. Last week I recieved a bag of about 50 from my Father in law, and as every year they just sit there because I don't know what to do with them. The Japanese just cut them up and eat them, when I asked some friends about what kinds of desserts they make with them they just stared at me and said they had never seen kaki made as a dessert. I have a cookbook that was put out by a foreign wives group here in Japan and actually found some recipes using kaki, a couple of days ago I made a kaki sryup which was said to be good on pancakes and such. However it is more like a sugar sryup with a kaki twang, not bad but very sweet. So I brewed up some iced tea and added a nice sized dollop and found it to be really good. Unfortunately it isn't really ice tea weather............. There are also recipes for baked persimmon indian pudding and persimmon crumble, so I assume they can be used similar to apples? My husband is currently soaking the remaining ones in shochu, it is supposed to make them sweeter. Anyone have any other ideas of what to do with them?
  2. Actually I just went and checked them out on the Tokyo food page, which had incredible reviews for both Miyako Zushi and Kozue. I am still trying to get the drool out of the keyboard. However, Miyako Zushi led me to the New York Grill (also in the Park Hyatt) a place I had nearly forgotten about and has a wonderful weekend buffet style brunch for 5800yen (about $50). This fits into our budget a little better than the $200 per person at the other 2 restaurants. We love Japanese food, but since we live here we were hoping for something a little more Westerny (word?). Thanks for the info.
  3. A spoonful of Ketchup that can often make all the difference in some recipes. I have found ketchup does work well in some recipes. The Japanese make what they call a dry curry (ground meat with no sauce) and it is seasoned with ketchup, worchestire sauce (I know I messed that one up!) and curry powder, it is really good. Usually with minced onions, carrots and green peppers and topped with a fried egg. There are aslo disgusting things that I can't eat: A spaghetti they make with sliced sausages, green pepper, and onions and the sauce is ketchup, JUST ketchup! Then there is the ketchup rice, like fried rice but with only ketchup as the seasoning. Back to sweet and sour, my favorite is one that a famous chain restaurant (in Japan) sells. It has no ketchup and is based on basalmic vinegar, wish I new exactly how to make it though.
  4. torakris

    Dinner! 2002

    Your whole menu sounds delicious, but the mabo tofu, in particular, caught my eye. What are the three kinds of tofu and what other spices/flavourings do you use? I am interested in the roasted part.
  5. I LOVE LARB!!!!! Well I have finally made it and am in love! I used the recipe from Hot Sour Salty Sweet and again have found another winner the balance was perfect! Lots of lettuce leaves are an absolute must, I also served it with some cucumber slices as well. My husband raved as well. Now I need to get in the kitchen and scrub the chicken pieces off the wall, I decided to mince the breasts myself with two knives the way I always watched Martin Yan do it.
  6. torakris

    Dinner! 2002

    Suvir, I forgot to mention it should be warm water, closer to hot than lukewarm. Maybe I will make them for dinner tonite with the laab I am going to try.
  7. torakris

    Dinner! 2002

    For dinner we had: Pot-roasted pork in white wine with garlic, fennel, and rosemary a la Jamie Oliver, absolutely delicious!! roasted alongside was an acorn squash and onions grilled asparagus and shimeji mushrooms tossed with a thick mustard dressing (also Jamie Oliver, also delicious) and served on (gasp!) iceberg lettuce---the only thing available in the store!
  8. torakris

    Dinner! 2002

    Um, not really, Suvir. But I can describe making them a bit. One makes a basic dough, let it rest for about half an hour. Knead until it's no longer sticky, then cut into portions. Roll out the portions. Brush some sesame oil, put a bit of chives (garlic chives, actually), sprinkle some salt. Roll it up and pinch off the ends. Anchor one end with the thumb and coil the rest around. Fold the other end under. Roll it out. Voila: jui cai bing. Fry on medium heat until crispy and brown on each side. I make these so that they're about two inches across but they could be any size. And how does one make this "basic dough"? Suvir, Not Jin, but I also make these pancakes with scallions quite a bit. They are positively addicting! The basic dough I use is about 1 cup flour to 1/2 cup water, you can make as much as you want just keep it in this 2 to 1 proportion. That's it! Jin if you are reading this, Are garlic chives what they refer to as nira in Japanese? I have always made these scallions or the Japanese long onions (naganegi), but I think they would be great with nira. Also can you elaborate more on your mint and basil sauce for your hiyayakko.
  9. torakris

    Hard-boiling eggs

    T - do you ever get eggs that won't peel smoothly that way? It seems to me that unless I'm peeling the hot egg directly under cool running water, sometimes the shell won't come off smoothly. I have found this to be the most consistently reliable method, I do occasionally get hard to remove shells, but like others have said it has more to do with the freshness of the egg. If I am having a hard time I peel it under cold running water, if I can get a stream of water just under that membrane it seems to help.
  10. torakris

    Hard-boiling eggs

    I follow the Cook's Illustrated way and get perfect eggs everytime. Place the eggs (straight from the fridge is fine) into a pan just large enough to hold them in single layer and cover by one inch with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, remove from heat, put a lid on it and let it sit for 10 minutes. Transfer the eggs to an ice bath and let sit for 5 minutes. Then tap it on the counter and roll it gently back and forth to loosen the shell and then peel.
  11. When my husband and I were living in Maui, we lived just down the street from Pacific Cafe (Kihei, Maui), I never realized there were others. We used to go occasionally, when our budget allowed! I remember Christmas Dinner 1994 we splurged on the $100 special dinner they were serving and alhtough I can no longer remember everything we ate, it was absolutely fantastic! Now you've got me dreaming about Maui again!!!!
  12. Funny, but since when have the Chinese been saying "Banzai"?!
  13. I just bought Donna Hay's New Food Fast, last week and think it looks great! To me this is the kind of book anyone can use to make really (10 minutes!) quick meals using REAL food. I haven't used it yet because my friend borrowed it the day after I got it and I haven't seen her since! As a busy mom of 3 litttle ones, I am always looking for shortcuts and I think that Jamie Oliver and soon Donna Hay are life savers for me. They make gorgeous food that tastes great and you rarely spend more than 30 minutes in the kitchen. I also like the fact that their recipes are so unlike regular recipes in that they don't call for measured ingredients, rather handfuls of this, a lug of that, etc. You don't even feel like you are using a cookbook! and the best thing is when you go to make it again you don't even need to bring the cookbook into the kitchen with you.
  14. Before I came to egullet this morning I was going through my e-mails and in a mailing from Jessica Biscuit Cookbooks was info about this book, which I had never heard of until then. My first thought was that this could become a very popular book, since the majority of people I know hate cooking and to them homemade is a box of pasta, a jar of sauce, a green bottle of cheese. The thing that does scare me it that this could lead to a slew of new cookbooks that take the emphasis off "real " food and put in on the convenience foods. If convenience foods are things like dried pasta, canned beans, and frozen veggies than count me as a convenience food freak, but you will never find bottled salad dressings, bottled sauces, boxes of "helper's", pre-made frozen meals in my house. I love food too much to settle for these things that don't even come in a close second. I have one friend that absolutely hates cooking and makes the same things over and over. Monday is always pasta with meat and frozen veggie sauce, Tuesday is chicken and spinach curry, thursday is sauteed salmon with brown rice and simmered pumpkin, etc. They are not bad foods but I really feel for her family that has been eating these 7 meals for the past 4 years. I have another friend whose special dish is mixing a block of cream cheese witha jar of salsa and she brings this to every potluck gathering she attends. I don't want to come across as a food "snob" but i like good food and this book will never find its way to my shelves, but i have a feeling my sister will be raving about it when I visit in December. But honestly if cooking from it can get her husband and 3 kids to eat anything other than pizza than maybe it has done something good. I realy liked the article and would love to see more honest reviews like that!
  15. Last night I had one of those super cheap-o dinners. My husband had a late meeting so it was just me and 5 children (my 3 and 2 I was babysitting for). We had bow tie pasta 500g $.55 (68yen) with tomato sauce with bay leaves and garlic and tuna 3 cans of (400g) whole tomatoes $.55 each(68 yen each)= $1.65 garlic and bay leaves about $.50 can of tuna about $1.00 dessert apple crisp with apples given to me by a friend about $1.00 for the topping Grand total = $4.15
  16. Not exactly brownies with Andes mints, but Fine Cooking's Aug/Sept 2002 has a recipe for Peppermint Brownies that look heavenly. The mint is actually infused into the batter with a combo of peppermint tea leaves and peppermint extract, they are then topped with a semi-sweet and white chocolate glaze.
  17. Oh, a topic very dear to my heart. I am also a stay at home mother with a family of 5 and it seems that my husband's salary is less and less every month. I try to keep our monthly food bill under $500 US, and preferably under $400 and let me tell you in Japan it is really hard. You really have to tailor it to your country, your season, and the sales at your supermarket. For me , the things that are cheap in the US are outrageous here, examples: 10 kilos of rice $40+ (and this is our staple!) 100 grams of beans $4.00 2 kg whole chicken $12 (I can buy 2kg of breast for $5.00 and 2kg of thighs for $7!) ground beef 100g for $2.50 So I focus on what is cheap here and shop only at sales, I have also found that planning a menu a couple of days to a week in advance helps avoid wasting food and enables me to use leftovers creatively. I also try to put a limit on how much I spend at one meal, I usually cap dinner at $10 and so if on one day we only spend $5, the next day I feel OK to go up to $15. It can be really frustrating at times because I love to cook and eat and would like to prepare more "gourmet" foods, but I I always stock a couple pricey stples that I find important, romano , good cheddar, and a gorgonzola, kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, dried porcinis, etc.
  18. torakris

    Dinner! 2002

    torakris, I've never been able to find a truly good use for shirataki (yam paste noodles). Flavourless. Any suggestions? I find people regret their presence in dishes. I really like shirataki, but it is flavorless and I find it works best in sauces with assertive flavors. The most common uses for it here are in nikujaga and sukiyaki and a couple other nabes (hotpots). I like to throw it into my Korean style chiges as well. One of my kids favorite ways of eating it is to simmer tarako (sacs of cod roe?) with some soy, aske, mirin or sugar, break up the sacs and toss in some shirataki, it ends up looking not much different from pasta.
  19. torakris

    Dinner! 2002

    Sounds great!! This has got to be one of my favorite cookbooks! Though I don't have counter space big enough for it! Definitely worth the price, although it was bought for me by a TV station here in Tokyo (long story). My absolute favorites are the grilled eggplant salad and Yunnanese potatoes, I never seem to make enough of either. Last nights's dinner was very child friendly due to the fact that I was watching my friend's kids: nikujaga (very popular Japanese dish of beef 'niku' and potatoes 'jaga'imo simmered in soy based sauce, I added carrots, onions, and shirataki and blanched snow peas for garnish) homemade nukazuke (rice bran pickles) with cucumbers, carrots, and celery Japanese rice squid sashimi topped with a raw egg yolk, a splash of tsuyu (a concentrated sauce used mainly for dipping noodles) and shredded nori sliced nashi (Japanese pears) and kaki (persimmons) for dessert
  20. torakris

    Smokin' diary

    NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Don't leave us hanging! What happened? How was it?
  21. torakris

    Fugu

    Here is a link to the above mentioned restaurant. http://www.x-media.co.jp/gourmet/gnet/shop..._WTN_0475.shtml It is only in Japanese, sorry. It seems like a very reasonably priced restaurant with courses starting at 5,900 yen (about $50) and various items a la carte.
  22. I made the pistachio cake last night for a small party with some friends and it was the talk of the party! It was one of the best cakes I have ever eaten. Thank you so much. I actually made it as a cake in a 9 inch spring form pan and it cooked to perfection in 30 minutes. My only problem was that I didn't have ground cardamom, so I ground the whole pods in a spice blender, but the outer green shell didn't get very well ground so I poured it through a seive. It tasted great, but how do you grind cardamom yourself? Do you remove the black seeds and just grind those?
  23. torakris

    Fugu

    For some info on peoples fugu experiences check out the following sites http://cygnus.uwa.edu.au/~mccormax/japan/fugu.html http://www.travelintelligence.net/wsd/arti...s/art_1784.html I have eaten fugu on numerous occasions, and don't really get all the "hype" surrounding it. It is a very bland fish, almost tasteless and the very few deaths that do occur are usually by people who tried to prepare it by themselves. More deaths occur every year by people eating the traditonal mochi (sticky rice) cakes at New Years. When the New Years holidays are over there is always an article in the newspaper erporting how many mochi deaths there were. However fugu, another common New Years food is never listed in the list of fatalities during the holidays (BTW the #1 is of course car accidents). Most restaurants that serve fugu, specialize only in fugu and there are about 3,000 establishments in the country. Making it not quite as rare or special as people believe. During the winter months plates of fugu sashimi can be found in any supermarket along with various body parts to be made into a nabe (one pot meal) right in your own home. I have had both the supermarket fugu and restaurant fugu and admit that the pricier one tastes better, but it is still not really good.
  24. In Japan the curly stuff is definitely more popular, it is sold in bunches about the size of my head at even the tiniest mom and pop type shops and flat leaf can only be bought occasionally at the "international" supermarkets. Its popularity is most likely do to the way they use it, mostly as a garnish on the side of the plate or a light sprinkling on type of any "western" type food. It is rarely thought of as a food ingredient. Because it is so cheap and available I find myself using it more often than I would if I was in the US and find its thicker stems much more suited to long simmerings. I find the flat leaf fresher tasting and use it normally in preparations that don't call for cooking, except for tabouleh which I prefer the curly type for. Didn't we just have this discussion a little while ago?
  25. torakris

    Dinner! 2002

    Last night's dinner: Thai style curry using left over soup from lunch, the winter quash soup with lemongrass and coconut milk was dresed up with more coconut milk, more lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf. It was then added to sauteed chicken, onions, and mushrooms and garnished with cilantro and chilesm Served with jasmine rice and a Thai cucumber salad. Dessert was the hilight of the meal with a mint chocolate mousse from Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer. No words can describe the sheer ecstacy from this unbelievably simple dessert.
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