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  1. Just went to a soy sauce factory a few weeks back...they had "sniff pots" for various stages of the fermentation process. It smelt like miso, and also a bit like fermenting malt beer at first. So definitely more bread, beer, booze and less like feet...
  2. helenjp

    Midsummer cooking event

    Excellent ideas thank you! And the fish tacos also reminds me of South American rolls filled with vegetables and fried fish.
  3. helenjp

    Midsummer cooking event

    Your brilliant ideas wanted! I agreed to meet somebody to talk about the possibility of running a one-off "cook and eat your dinner" class in early August. Apparently that was tantamount to signing on the dotted line... So far, I am thinking of starting with a watermelon gazpacho that we all make together as we review kitchen & food safety basics, and then adding the fresh-made batch to a pre-chilled (some elements frozen?) batch so that we can serve it out straight away and get people into a relaxed mood...the more so because there won't be any alcohol (drinking age is 20 here). It has to be simple yet attractive. I'm wondering whether dessert should be packed and taken home for late night snacking, rather than served with dinner. Might bring a few pre-prepared items ...advice very welcome! * Here in Japan, late July - early August is an appetite killer (very high humidity, sudden rise in temperature, peak heat-stroke fortnight). * High heat / humidity = extra care with food safety * (hungry?) young college students, mostly 18-20 * Japanese eggplants are in peak season, and Japanese kabocha squash are good then too * The menu should be non-Japanese - it will be eclectic, certainly involving Nepalese food. * To be cooked and eaten within 3 hours * We have the use of a local community center kitchen - basic Japanese equipment plus an oven, but nothing fancy, and frankly, I am not sure we want to turn the oven on in August... * Hope to have enough cooks to split cooking into small groups of 3-5
  4. helenjp

    What's New in Kitchen Gadgets?

    You can use it to carry a raw egg and then remove it from the case to cook lunch for enterprising cyclist . But in that case, the ordinary kind of fully-enclosed egg case seems like a better choice!
  5. helenjp

    What's New in Kitchen Gadgets?

    The fact that you can boil them in the cases is just a handy extra - the selling point is that you put the egg in the case, boil it, and then you can put it straight in your lunchbox, where the case stops the shell from getting crushed in transit (those commuter trains...). I can't find any claim that boiling the eggs in cases makes it any easier to boil eggs, but you never know. P.S. There is a separate kind of case for microwaving eggs!
  6. helenjp

    What's New in Kitchen Gadgets?

    NO no no no! Those "cases" are to hold PEELED hardboiled eggs for your lunchbox! I mean! What else could they be for?!!!! I was wrong about the "peeled" part - you are supposed to just carry the HB egg in its shell in the case (double packaging???).
  7. If I were just eating it and not cooking it, I think Fucha Ryouri (Fucha Buddhist Temple Cooking) is always interesting - so much care given to mouthfeel. But possibly too rich for every day. Generally, I think it is the techniques as much as the individual recipes that inspire: the combination of nuts/seeds with bitter greens; the use of thickeners to allow delicate flavors to linger; the physical layering of flavors in mildly fermented pickles; the use of agar gels with sauces to separate interesting flavors... I really hope this thread continues, because I think it will have a slow burn - so many people don't divide their worlds into vegan or non-vegan that it may take a while to come up with the goods.
  8. helenjp

    MasterChef offends Malaysians

    There's a reason why it's popular - my mother got keen on Malaysian and Indonesian cooking long ago, but rendang was the one she was still making a decade later, partly because it is the perfect dish for a crowd. Rich, a bit sour, aromatic... If you want to use desiccated coconut, take a hard look at the quality - it often seems old, dry, and tasteless in western supermarkets.
  9. helenjp

    Potato Puree, Mashed Potatoes, Pommes

    Stampot! When spring greens start to appear in the stores but the weather is still chilly, it's a wonderful combination of mashed potato (sometimes with onion or turnip added, maybe some flecks of carrot) mashed together with the usual seasonings and a generous amount of strong-flavored greens like turnip tops, parsley etc. My potato box had fewer potatoes in it than I thought, so we had a weekend dinner of stampot served with mashed taro (the small Japanese sato-imo type). Most of the greens plus some crispy bits of friend pork and onions went into the taro mash, while the potato mash had more carrot than usual to pretty it up.
  10. Love the springlike greens with white! Since it was raining, I did what should only be done in fine weather - made rakugan (Japanese "dry" sweets - mixture of sugar and any of a variety of cooked flours, with just enough moisture to hold together in a small mold). Powdered sugar + kanbaiko (sticky rice cakes baked at low temp and made into flour) + powdered dried salted cherry blossom = wonderful flavor but too sweet Trad fine brown sugar (not quite wasanbon but close) + kanbaiko + kinako (toasted soybean flour) = really hard to manage because of the fat content of the soybean flour, seemed uninteresting at first bite, but way too more-ish (not too sweet) trad fine brown sugar + jonanko (sticky rice steamed, dried, and made into flour) = the perfect melt in your mouth powdery texture (no photo). I've always used kanbaiko so I was really surprised that jonanko made such a difference. Sorry photos are not so great, I just snapped a couple to annoy absent son!
  11. Rooibos! Because it's good hot, and just as good when it gets cold.
  12. When it's hot I definitely start pickling and stop baking. Pickled/quick fermented salad = good. Or boil at night, marinade overnight for next day's lunch or dinner.
  13. helenjp

    Japanese curry

    Absolutely and utterly Japanese rice. Doesn't mean you can't have whatever rice you prefer, of course.
  14. helenjp

    Ingredient translation request

    Tokyo Tower Peach & Berry Tea (Flavored Black/Indian Tea) Ingredients: Black/Indian tea, sugar?, pink peppercorns, heath-flower, elder flower, flavoring, Monascus purpureus coloring Countries of origin: Vietnam, India, Korea The only doubt I have is that the term "arare" COULD be either tiny balls of toasted rice flour dough, or tiny balls of sugar. The picture I saw on the internet seemed to have only pink peppercorns, so I am guessing "sugar" rather than "toasted crunchy bits", but your friend will be able to confirm by taking a closer look.
  15. I suffer from the small kitchen problem too. I have a very small wooden box with a slotted lid that I store potatoes in. That doubles as a step when needed, but mostly, I keep stuff in high cupboards in plastic bins with grab handles on front, small enough to contain only a moderate amount of stuff, so not too heavy to yank one off a high shelf.$1 store plastic file holders on their sides make good dividers for flat items, and can be slid forward very easily.