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eG Foodblog: torakris/snowangel - When Pocky meets pad thai....

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It's been a very busy afternoon. I opted to spend some time this afternoon before Diana's volleyball game doing some furthe demo in the basement (we recently had a flood down there, and removing the ugliest wall paper and paneling has revealed some nasty sheet rock problems), so I've been negligent. I will be around more tomorrow and the rest of the week because the trash can is full.

Anyway, as I suspected, those pretzels would sort of be my lunch. I'm not much of a chip person, but I have a real weakness for pretzels, and most of all these salt and pepper pretzels. I never should have bought two bags.

But, when I realized that woman can not live on coffee and pretzels (with an occasional apple tossed in), I went to the fridge and retrieved some leftovers from last night:

gallery_6263_35_32029.jpg

I had gotten some sweet corn on Sunday that was not great. Wasn't bad, just clearly the end of the season. So, yesterday, I recalled a recent Bittman Minimalist colum in the Wed. NY Times where he pan-grilled corn kernels. So, off the cobs those kernels went into the cast iron skillet, with a smidge of oil and two mined jalapeno peppers with some cilantro added at the end.

And, I had a mess of tomatoes that were on their way to being going, going, gone. More japalenos, a couple of onions (very finely minced), some cilantro, juice of one lime.

THis made a perfect Monday night dinner for tacos, using almost the last of the smoked butt from the freezer.

And, since I had these two items leftover, when I had a hankering for something mid-afternoon besides pretzels, I filled a large custard cup with the pan-grilled corn and salsa. Side by side they sat, so I could either eat them separately or mixed together.

Yum. The pan-grilled corn is an outstanding use for corn that isn't just right for the boil and butter!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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What a difference a day makes.  Yesterday was sunny and 85 degrees (F).  Had I not had to finish some outdoor painting, I would have gone to the farmer's market then.

We have had a remarkable summer and fall.  By this time, we almost always had a hard freeze, which eliminates many of the things I saw today.  Summer, spring and fall vegetables were all present.  I really should have taken more pictures!  I plan to return on Thursday because I'll be nearby and stock up for the weekend.  Knock on weekend, we won't have a hard freeze on Wednesday night.

You gotta love something about Minnesota other than the weather!

I was in The Cities yesterday and saw 88 in Edina! Back up North today, high of 53 and wet, with lows in the teens forecast for Wednesday and Thursday night.

It was a remarkable summer, once it got going about the last week of June. I still have green tomatoes in the garden, (till tomorrow anyway). Up here we usually had our first hard frost back in early in September.

I wish you good luck with your cooking and reporting this week.

SB (got some nice Bayfield WI apples last weekend)

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So, without much of a lag, here is dinner. This worked out very well since Diana and I got home at 5:45 and I wanted dinner on the table by 6:30. I was ably assisted by my mother, who was watching Heidi when my dad and I watched Diana play.

So I made

gallery_6263_35_594.jpg

A simple broccoli stirfry. Susan, I had intended to get Chinese broccoli, but this head of broccoli that I espied was positively the most beautiful head I've ever seen and it "spoke" to me. Some very roughly chopped garlic, the broccoli (stems peeled and chunked up), tossed with some hot oil in a hot pan, a bit of chicken stock and some nam pla.

The pepper dish was a new one for me. I've been cooking out of Barbara Tropp's Modern Art of Chinese Cooking for years, and continue to find recipes I've never tried. Case in point was tonight when I got home. I realized that I had these red bell peppers (8 for $1.00!) and they were screaming "use me." Somewhere, I dug out of my feeble memory that she had a dish. Red Bell Pepper with Garlic and Coriander. Minced garlic, in a hot pan with hot oil. Add the peppers (1" dice). A splash of soy sauce, and one of rice vinegar. Cover for a minute, uncover and add a handful of chopped cilantro. Finish with a splash of sesame oil. This dish was outstanding. I only fixed 1/2 of the peppers (an experimental dish, you know!), and I could easily have eaten it all myself. Huge hit. I marked this recipe in the book as "one of the best in the book." So simple, so easy, so fast.

Chicken thighs and legs. Another Bittman recipe from his Minimalist column. One which has made an appearnce on our table before -- Vietnamese Chicken Two Ways. Marinated in some soy, garlic, chili flakes and ginger. Pan cooked. At the end, you can either take the chix and serve with cilantro and lime, or remove, add sugar, water, more garlic, more ginger, more chili flakes. Chicken returned and "carmelized."

Although my plate looks more than half empty, I did have another plate!

We are not regular dessert eaters in the house (I don't have much of a sweet tooth), but I'm sure I'll dig into the apples and pretzels before bed!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Sounds good, Susan. (We ended up with regular broccoli, too.)


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Waiting for photos of your dinner on the Dinner! topic in Cooking, Susan. My kids said, after looking at my dinner picture (believe me, they've seen enough of the food porm photos on the Dinner! topic) "Mom, don't be mad when we say this. But, your photos suck." Ah, the confidence of youth! I reminded them gently that many of the Dinner! posters don't have kids! And, they are glad this time around that I am serving family style, and once they have served themselves, I plate mine and then photo my plate. Last blog around, they got pretty tired of sitting quietly and waiting until I photoed everything!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Well I never did get to eat breakfast this morning...

I hid my coconut bagels (from yesterday's co-op order) away so I could eat them when the children weren't here but I cam home just before 9:00 from taking Hide to school forgetting I had a student coming at 9:00am today! My regular class is at 10am on Weds and I thought I would have to eat, get in a quick workout and shower before my class. I got in nothing. I taught straight through until 11:30 when I picked up Hide. I was starving my then...


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Great blog guys, thanks.


Matthew Xavier Hassett aka "M.X.Hassett"

"Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters-it is vulgarly called bittered sling and is supposed to be an exellent electioneering potion..."

- Balance and Columbian Repository. May 13, 1806

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One of the things about a Growing Boy (Peter, age 9) is that they are either hungry or not. And, when they are hungry, they eat all of the time.

So, it wasn't just an hour after devouring three chicken legs, one thigh, a mess of broccoli, a mess of red bell peppers that I received the announcement. "Mom, I'm hungry. I need Mama."

Now, in our house, Mama has a different meaning. Growing up in Thailand, every day after school for several years, my friend Nancy and I would ride our bikes to her apartment building and go swimming in the outdoor pool. When we got out of the pool, we'd wrap our sarongs around our waists. We'd trot back to her apartment, and sit on the veranda and eat Mama noodles. We always ate them in these pottery bowls with handles that had lids. We got them at the Dirty Dish Factory. I should dig around and find mine and post a photo.

Anyway, we would sit and eat our MAMA noodles. We both liked having bean sprouts in them (started in the beginning when we added the water). And, we always had a typically Thai condiment of vinegar with hot peppers. Nancy and I liked to sweat.

So, Peter loves his Mama noodles. I'm sure that Korean brands are just fine. But, these have special memories.

gallery_6263_35_738361.jpg

Here is the package after he's dumped the ramen noodles into the pot with water. The packet on the left side has some grease with some bits of "something" in it. The packet on the right is a two-part packet. One with chili powder (Thai style) and the right side has some sort of broth powder with dried scallion tops.

Peter favors the artificial pork flavor. I quite frankly, am not sure what all is in them. All I know is that if I need to pull out my reading glasses (yes, I'm old!) to read the ingredient list, I probably don't want to know!

I get these at my Asian market for $5.59 for a case of 30 packets. Mama makes many different types of ramen-style noodles. Diana's favorite is their pad thai (which aren't great, but aren't bad). They have rice noodles that you boil, drain and mix with a couple of packets of stuff. Their creamy tom yum flavor (which is an extra large packet, listed at two servings and in in a foily packet) is just the key if you have a cold or sinus thing. The latter needs no peppery accoutrements. I used to be able to get a Som Tam flavor, which didn't really taste like som tam, but when doused with a squirt of lemon, were very good in their own right. I can't seem to find those locally.

Kris, I'll have to try those Korean noodles and see if they hold a candle to Mama noodles. Chances are they won't in the memory department.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I am so pleased to see this blog team! You two are already off to a great start.

Susan, I'm with you on the weather bit. It hasn't frozen up around Duluth yet either, although they're talking possible snow by the end of the week. It's hard to believe, considering how hot it was last night while the thunderstorms were rolling through. Still, our Farmer's Market doesn't have the variety of yours. Are you going along the Nicollet Mall, or is this someplace else? And what days is it active?

Kris, if and when you get a chance, please talk about learning Japanese. Could you already speak and read it before you got married? If not, how did you go about learning, and how comfortable are you with it now? I'm guessing you're quite fluent. That's impressive for only 10 years, even with immersion-by-marriage. :biggrin:

I used to eat ramen noodles a lot, without giving it a thought. Now I'm wondering: what makes a noodle a ramen noodle, and what makes it good vs. great vs. low-quality? Expound, both of you, please.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Kris, do the Korean ramen noodles have a packet of grease included? I swear that's what makes the Mama brand so wonderful.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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It's interesting about ramen noodles. At least with the Mama brand, the ones with rice noodles are far lower in fat than the ones with the "other kind" of noodles. The "other kind" are apparently deep fried before they are put in the package.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Kris, do the Korean ramen noodles have a packet of grease included?  I swear that's what makes the Mama brand so wonderful.

this particular brand didn't, some of the Korean ones I buy do as do some of the Japanese ones. This was my first time to buy this particular Korean brand and I didn't like it as much as ones I have eaten in the past.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I used to eat ramen noodles a lot, without giving it a thought.  Now I'm wondering: what makes a noodle a ramen noodle, and what makes it good vs. great vs. low-quality?  Expound, both of you, please.

For me the biggest difference between the Japanese and Korean ramen are the noodles. The Korean ones are thicker and have more flavor, they are also so good you can eat them as a snack straight from the package (before cooking them). As to flavor the Japanese ones offer more variety, the Korean ones seems to come in just one flavor: spicy. Of course this is just what is available in Japan, they may have a bigger selection in Korea.

As I mentioned in my last post I didn't care for this brand as much as others I have had, the soup was just lacking flavor.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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lunch for the rabbits

gallery_6134_1857_9498.jpg

it is difficult to see but it is cabbage and apple slices, the apples were soaked in salted water to prevent discoloration....

I can't possibly be remembered as the mother who fed the rabbits brown apples, can I?


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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But, when I realized that woman can not live on coffee and pretzels (with an occasional apple tossed in), I went to the fridge and retrieved some leftovers from last night:

gallery_6263_35_32029.jpg

Hide is home for lunch on Weds and from a little while ago we made Weds lunch curry day. We both eat some kind of instant curry....

I just dump the pack into the tupperware the leftover rice was in and heat it up.

gallery_6134_1857_8898.jpg

Susan, I can't tell you how happy I am to see your tupperware lunch! :laugh:

These were the curries we had today:

gallery_6134_1857_6862.jpg

mine is the kerala curry and Hide is the beef curry (our co-op's brand)


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Kristin, what does that "co-op" label mean on the right package? Are there products marketed directly to co-ops?

Yes,

it is sort of like a generic.

There are actually quite a few "national" co-op' s in Japan, I belong to one called Seikyo Co-op and more specifically the Kanagawa (for Kanagawa Prefecture) Group. The Co-op's produce now many of their own foods very similar to the store generic brands in the US.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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So I made

gallery_6263_35_594.jpg

Susan, I had forgot to ask, did you have any rice with that?


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Kris, if and when you get a chance, please talk about learning Japanese.  Could you already speak and read it before you got married?  If not, how did you go about learning, and how comfortable are you with it now?  I'm guessing you're quite fluent.  That's impressive for only 10 years, even with immersion-by-marriage.  :biggrin:

I was actually a Japanese language minor in college, so I had four years of college level studies under my belt before moving here. The emphasis at school was on reading and writing so it took a couple years before I really felt comfortable speaking. I wouldn't call myself fluent but I have no problem doing things and haven't asked my husband for help in a couple years. I handle all the daily household problems, school things, doctor visits, etc. I am really glad I know how to read though, I couldn't imagine living here if I couldn't read...


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Torakris:

If we were able to find some of the products you mention at an Asian market here in the states, would they have directions in English?

Thanks, Julia


"Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.”

Francois Minot

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Torakris:

If we were able to find some of the products you mention at an Asian market here in the states, would they have directions in English?

Thanks, Julia

They should. Usually there with be a sticker on the back with nutritional information, ingredients and directions.

If you ever find something you want to try but it seems to be be missing English directions just ask over at the Japan Forum we are more than happy to help out!


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I had to run to the drug store today to pick up some batteries, a couple other things made their way into my basket...

gallery_6134_1857_51119.jpg

Hide really wanted those digestive biscuits. :biggrin: We had one box for our 3 o'clock snack today.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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OOOH! Proper McVities dark chocolate biscuits. The milk ones are an aberration. I thought they only were available in the UK. The packaging is different - in the uK they are in a tube or a round pack.

The plain not-chocolate-covered are great with strong cheeses, or for dunking in coffee. Do you get Hobnobs or Jaffa cakes as well?


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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OOOH! Proper McVities dark chocolate biscuits. The milk ones are an aberration. I thought they only were available in the UK. The packaging is different - in the uK they are in a tube or a round pack.

The plain non-milk are great with strong cheeses, or for dunking in coffee. Do you get Hobnobs or Jaffa cakes as well?

These McVities biscuits I think are pretty new to Japan, I ahd never seen them before last week. The dark chocolate ones are definitely my favorite the kids preferred the milk chocolate. Over in the Japan Forum prasantrin mentioned that she found them in a matcha (green tea) flavor. I looked for this but couldn't find it. Do they have a green tea flavor in the UK?

This packaging is very typical Japanese packing, inside there are 4 separate packs of 3 cookies each.

I have no idea what hobnobs or Jaffa cakes are... :unsure:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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