Part III-More Applications of pickled cherry blossoms

Thursday, April 29, 2010

(Intact Onigiri)

(Sakura Ume Onigiri made by Keiko for Yours Truly with the Shiozuke Yours Truly made)
(Nom, nom, nom.... After taking a big bite...Umeboshi and sakura leaf, is dat chu?)
After working a long day at work, this fills my belly nicely....

In addition to our Sakura Shiozuke making and subsquent Matcha Green Tea-Sakura macaron, Keiko also brought some shiozuke onigiri to work. The onigiri was packaged using wrapping plastic she got on her visit home to Japan. I also saw a link that shows non-traditional uses of Sakura the other day by Chika of shewhoeats the other day and her food pictures are really inspirational! Sakura cream puff, sakura cheesecake, sakura dacquoises, hojicha latte with sakura sugar, sakura-hojicha biscotti and sakura yatsuhashi cookies are just some of the novel ways she has enjoyed sakura. Unfortunately she does not allow any of her content to be shared in any form so you'll just have to click on the link to see what I mean. I did find other Sakura desserts from other sites so enjoy!

(Picture by Julia-Sweet Travel Blog of Green Tea and Cream Mochi from Setsuko Pastry, from $3)
(Sakura Shortbread Cookies from Setsuko Pastry, $18 for a dozen)

抹茶(Green tea) Macaron

(Matcha-Sakura Macaron)
I have tried to make Macha macaron the other day. Since Winnie made beautiful Sakura Shiozuke a week ago, I thought"Why don't I make some sweets using this pretty condiment?" Then I chose to make macaron. Sakura Shiozuke is sweet pink color and taste a little bit salty, I decided to use sweet white chocolate for cream between macaroon and green tea to add to the dough in order to put a tint of bitter flavor. Look! the coloring is really nice and cute??? It was a first trial to make macaroon which is quite tricky to make enough to raise but taste was not bad!!  

I wanna eat Keiran Somen!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

(Photocredit to Julia of Sweet Travel Blog)

I first chanced upon Keiran Somen (Japanese) from KyotoFoodie's website and was pretty intrigued.
Upon reading his feature on this traditional wagashi or Japanese confectionary of Portuguese origin, I really want to try some! Keiran Somen translated as chicken egg noodles, while its Portuguese ancestor is called Fios de ovos or angel hair. Further research shows that there is a Thai version called Kanom Foy Tong and a recipe is provided!!! Woo HOO! I asked Jin about it and he mentioned that this desserty snack was his favorite while growing up in Thailand. Kanom Foy Tong is translated as gold fibers and I thought that this was very apt. Here's an excerpt from the website:
Foi thong means gold fibre. It, is made from pure egg yolk but with a small amount of egg-dew, the light egg white remaining in the egg shells. In order to achieve the desired stringy texture, the yolk must not be beaten but stirred with a spoon or a stick in the same direction until a smooth and well-blended look is reached. A fine string of the batter is then allowed to flow annularly from a small hole at the tip of a cone held 1-2 feet above a vessel of bubbling heavy syrup. Once enough gold silk to form a thick skein has been poured, the cook will interrupt the flow and begin on a new skein. This step is repeated until the vessel is full. When cooked, each skein is waved gently with a stick through the syrup to give it a glossy, silky look. The skeins are then rested on top of another vessel to drain. Once drained, each skein is folded several times to make smaller, thicker skeins.
(Keiran Somen Pictures from Kyotofoodie-Before pulling the threads apart..)

To recreate this, I might need a special device that helps in dripping thin strands of sugared-egg yolks into syrup. Any ideas? Really want to try some soon... Until I give the Thai recipe a go!

BASHO (Japanese Brasserie) open!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Finally I had an opportunity to go to "BASHO (Japanese Brasserie)"!!  This newly opened modern Japanese cuisine restaurant is located few minutes away from Fenway Park. Since I live around the corner and have noticed the huge advertisement says "BASHO is coming soon!" since last fall. BASHO is the name under one of the very most famous Japanese poet "Matsuo Basho", therefore I knew it would be a Japanese restaurant. Anyway, I went to this restaurant with a big expectation.  As soon as I entered to the restaurant, I was amazed its huge space!and there are bars, counter seats, regular seats and even there was a separate space for Yakitori & Aburi (Japanese style BBQ). The total interior decoration is very modern and using black & white base and all waitresses & waiters are wearing black out fit. So the atmosphere is more like a fashionable night spot. Anyway, we start ordering menus. First I ordered a crispy shrimp, which is fried shrimp and shitake mushroom was marinated with spicy and mayonnaise base sauce. It was very rich taste and good with a glass of Cabernet. The Daikon Salad was also marinated with mayonnaise based sauce but this time it was with mentaiko (Kimcheed cod roe) and there was sea weed on the top of it. The third dish was Baby Octopus. It has a flavor of Yuzu (Japanese citrus) and sweet soy sauce and there was a lot of Katsuo-bushi (Bonito flakes)on the top of baby octopus. This is great much with Japanese Sake(especially with a dry cold one). We also had assort of Sashimi, few different types of Sushis. And these are all very yummy. Finally we finished with Maki (Sushi Rolls). We had three different types of rolls, 1) Sushi Tasting 2) Rainbow Roll 3) Red Spicy Rolls. These are all good. Since most of Rolls in the U.S use lots of things, gredients, tobiko, avocado, sauces, etc, I do not think it is necessary to put extra soy sauce on them.I guess we ate far more too much, but it was very good Japanese cuisine. 

My Small, Girly, Curvy, Yellow Microplane

(Picture from here)

I finally got myself a microplane! It's this Ultimate citrus grating tool and as usual I was influenced by B and V, who cannot say more good things about it. Incidentally, different microplanes can be used for other things like cutting ribbons etc. While shopping with the girls, I was seduced by a smaller, girlier, Curvier and Yellow version of the microplane. Its also helps to score citrus and allows you to make citrus curls ala garnishing cakes and drinks like martinis. The curling bit was the deal-breaker for me. How cute and adorable!
However, after tearing away at the packaging (that means no more returning!), I noticed a design flaw (or 2). The microplane embedded in plastic and this plastic frame is connected to the comfortable rubber handle. Grating is hardly a gentle sport and if I weren't careful (just trouble-shooting), wouldn't the plastic bit break? Grrrrr.. And then I went to Amazon reviews and saw that indeed other users HAVE broken theirs. Drat. I should have gotten the manlier, utility version instead.
OR.... I can use her like the way she was designed to be used--Gently, like a Girl. fml.
(But just in case you want to give me something on my wishlist....:P)

Making Alfajores or Dulce de Leche Cookies!

(Finshed cookie!)
I was referred by B (yet again) to  another well-sourced recipe on the web. She should be in sales because she convinces me (I am too easy) to try the stuff she reads about or has done. Without actually doing a hard-sell but rather a well-timed and -placed thought about something. Say, Sea Salt Caramels, Pumpkin Whoopie Pie, SE Asian Grub Crawl etc etc. I might as well create a tag for her in my entries because she pops up pretty often. (Done)
In this case, I used The Pink Peppercorn's recipe (shown below) + some of my pictures.
Using the butter cookie recipe she provided, I also filled them with the Earl Grey Sea Salt Caramel and also Gula Melaka (not Thai version) Caramels. My cookies must have been too thick because they overwhelmed the Dulce de Leche and Sea Salt Caramels. Except the Gula Melaka version... which was very aromatic on its own and balanced out the buttery-ness.
In any case, my friends loved it. Thank god I gave most of them away so that we can all get fat together share the wealth.

Animal Cookies

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It was a great weather this morning, so I decided to go for running along the Charles River. While I was running, I found a very nice cafe on beacon Street. The cafe's name is "Taffe".So I dropped in to this cafe and found such cute cookies!! The name is"ANIMAL COOKIES". Since these cookies are so adorable, I did not want to bite them, I decided to get another kind of sweet.I chose a roll called "ROSE" instead.  " Rose" has few different flavors and I picked a chocolate one. The texture of this roll is crispy outside and very soft inside. It might be a little too sweet, but it is a great much with cafe latte without sugar. I have charged myself with this very tasty roll and cafe latte, then I could run much longer!                                                                                                                                           


Recreating Thai-Laotian Purple-Black Sticky Rice with coconut custard

( All Done!)

(In a Singaporean take on things, I drizzed Gula Melaka or Palm sugar on top of the dessert. Ok, well actually I ran out of coconut milk :P)

Remember my SE Asian grub crawl? I am craving some Khao Sung Ga Ya or black glutinous rice with coconut custard already... During the cooking process, the black rice stains purple so I suppose purple and black are inter-exchangeable.
B and I tasted this and instantly we were like... "Pulut Hitam!"
Pulut Hitam is a Singaporean black glutinous rice porridge, sometimes pudding drizzled with coconut cream or milk on the top.
As I love being able to make what I like, I got down to work searching for a suitable recipe. I found Manivan Larprom's recipe With the exception of a few taste tweaks*, here's the recipe:

So... No photo-taking if I want to really enjoy my food?

Friday, April 23, 2010

A friend forwarded this article from the Los Angeles Times to me the other day, with the following quote:
"The paparazzi target wasn't hard to find: The star smelled distinctly of fish."
Thinking that it was funny (the fish part) and similar to the entry I wrote about, I clicked on the link to find.....

Dinner is the theater as food paparazzi converge

Serious foodies and casual diners are bringing restaurant creations home in photos. They are also causing problems that some chefs find hard to swallow.

The SOBA (Japanese Buckwheat Noodle)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Today's topic is SOBA (Japanese noodle). I looooove SOBA!!! Especially the Shin SOBA (newly harvested noodle) has fresh aroma special texture. SOBA has a very long history like Sushi and have been eaten since Edo period  ( about 1600 A.D.) There is another famous and tasty noodle in Japan called "Udon", but compared that Udon is made from flour, SOBA is made from buck wheat  flour which has much more nutrition than Udon.  You can enjoy SOBA either chilled with dipping sauce (SOBA TSUYU), or in hot broth as a noodle soup. I have never met any Japanese who do not like SOBA.
I have posted few pics of my favorite SOBA dishes. As you can see from these pics, you can enjoy soba with hot Kamo-namban tare ( Stewed Duck Soup)  or with assort of Tempura. This place called "KOED     (超峠)"is one of great soba place. Even though it is located in ISEHARA station on Odakyu-line which is away from Tokyo (about 2.5 hours from center of Tokyo), I visit there to enjoy SOBA whenever I visit Japan. I will introduce some of my favorite SOBA places, "Kokonotuido" and "KANDA-MATUYA  in Japan!!

How to make SOBA: Last decade, SOBA is getting popular more and more! SOBA and SUSHI are sort of dish you should eat at restaurant! ( which means you should eat one which the professional chef made). However, there is a trend that you actually make SOBA from a scratch at home.  There is even " Homemade SOBA kit" at major department stores. 

Mexican Street Dessert: Raspado (By Samantha N.)

Mexican Street Dessert: RASPADO (a paper cone filled with crushed ice topped with flavored sugar water)

Wouldn’t a cart like this tempt you in hot scorching weather?
Raspado is a snow cone I had in Mexico. I've had lots of snow cones but what was different (besides the name) was the fact that it was that it came in various exotic flavors. In this particular store (above), some of these flavors include:
burnt milk, soursop, crème de mezcal*, mamey (described as combination of pumpkin, sweet potato, and maraschino cherries with the texture of an avocado), vanilla, prickly pear catus, lemon,  beso oaxaqueño**, nut and tamarind. 
[*crème de mezcal comes in a lot of flavours. Depending on the flavor, the closest alcohol that bears similarity is Baileys.
** beso oaxaqueno is a traditional flavor made with a type of wild apple, carrots, pecans, and cream.]
PS: I just noticed it now but TUNA-flavored raspado?

Pastiche Fruit Tart Review and assumed recipe (+other pastries)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

(Major food porn of Pastiche's Fruit Tart. My favorite-st in the whole wide world)
(another angle, another shot)

Many of you who live in the east coast may have tried this already. Hands down, this is (my favorite and) fruit tart in the entire world (my world). Me thinks no one else has reached the pinnacle of fruit tart-perfection Pastiche has.

Every single FT I taste gets compared to it. It is worthy of its exorbitant price tag of $43 (large). The usually very communal me gets jealous and protective if anyone tries to siphon a slice of my large tart. (It is mine and I will savor it slowly.) It is worth the 45 minutes drive from Boston and 45 minutes back because it is that good.
Personal reasons aside, Pastiche's FT is absolutely beautiful. Scrutinize it. The thin, high-shine glaze casts rich jewel tones on fresh fruit, rendering it unnaturally perfect (the Gods would approve). Beyond the surface layer of fruit, the custard, oh the custard!

Making Earl Grey Sea Salt Caramels (First Attempt)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

(Long strips)
(Square Caramelitos)
B was raving about V's sea salt caramels and how good they were. Making sea salt caramels...As the idea stewed in my mind, I because obsessed with trying to make find Fleur de Sel de Guerande, which many of you know is crazy expensive outside of France.In the end, I placed an order on Amazon and paid $25 for 12 oz of salt. As my urgency couldn't wait until the salt arrived, B offered to share her Maldon sea salt with me (a very good alternative). Still I had to wait until the weekend to see her so I grabbed a jar of Sel Gris de Brittany from the gourmet aisle of TJ Max for $5 (cheap!), got a candy thermometer (crucial!) and all the remaining ingredients.
I scoured the web, viewed many many recipes from food bloggers David Lebovitz, Chez Pim, smittenkitchen etc.
In the end, I settled on notsohumblepie's recipe (she even had a trouble-shooting forum :)) and decided to infuse the caramels with my favorite Earl Grey tea from Whittard's of Chelsea. My own humble pics accompanied Ms. Humble's Instructions.

Samantha Eats Savory Mexican Chocolate!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cousin Samantha is back with her latest entry about savory chocolate used in Oaxacan (Mexican) cooking. She might not like mole (pronounced "Mole-Lay") a lot, but I do! Especially in chicken burritos... Yumm!

Not your ordinary Chocolate! (By Samantha N.)
 (Making Mole)

Oaxaca is well-known for its chocolate. However, the chocolate found there is not of the traditional smooth-bar variety. The undissolved granulates of sugar in the cocoa gives the chocolate a rough and unrefined sandy texture; I could feel the bits of sugar when I bit into it.
Commonly, many people assume that chocolate is a sweet food. However in Latin America, chocolate comes in savory forms too and is incorporated frequently into cooking.  During my stint in Oaxaca, I had the pleasure of tasting chocolate cooked in 3 different ways (including savory styles).

Southeast Asian Grub Crawl (Cambodian, Laotian, South Indian, Vietnamese)

(My favorites from the crawl. Find out what they are after the jump!)

This grub crawl was put together by Jess, the organizer-dinaire of a meetup group I was in and I must say that I had way too much fun (if that was possible) with like-minded non-snobby foodies. I got the list of the places we went to and recommendations by J so that perhaps you might be able to recreate our magical day of eating authentic Southeast Asian food in Lowell, MA!
My favorite was the 2nd stop hands down. Collectively, the dishes were worthy of a trip in itself!

Salted Pork Mochi-Rice Okowa

Kyotofoodie's rendition of salt pork mochi rice okowa looks absolutely delicious!
I am absolutely inspired to salt pork belly (instead of shoulder) the coming week or so. Once I have everything ready, I will attempt to recreate this hearty meal!

Fruits Tart~It is hard to make custard cream!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I have tried to make a fruits tart one day. I could bake a pie nicely and could slice fruits beautifully. So everything was ready!...that I thought. But "NO!" of course not! I forgot a most challenging process to make a fruits tart.  It is custard cream!  I have tried many recipes using eggs, custard sugar, and vanilla essence or vanilla tree(?), but I could never make a tasty custard cream, so far. Anyway, when I made this fruits tart, custard cream was OK but not good enough...
I wish if anyone who is good at making custard cream teach me how to make a TASTY custard cream. 
One day I hope I can make a fruits tart of Pastiche. One of my very good friend told me that the best fruits tart in the world(?) is Pastiche's. To tell the truth, I have not had one yet, but am planning to taste it pretty soon!! Please check it out!

Make Spicy Deviled Eggs!

(To be fancy, I topped my DE's off with black whitefish caviar)

Having had no deviled eggs (DE) for a good chunk of my life since I grew up in Singapore, DE's are officially going to be a part of my life forever! I had my first deviled egg at Hungry Mother a couple of years ago and was impressed its seemingly simple but extremely yummy flavor. Adding paprika and cayenne pepper gives it a mild heat which I love. But I was not impressed by the cost of having it at a restaurant so I decided to make my own instead because they are much cheaper! My DE's were an instant hit at the party I brought it to and as such, I have re-created this recipe on many other occasions, tweaking it to taste.

(On a side note, check out these exploding boules after boiling. So cute!)
For a step-by-step guide,

World's Saddest Cookbook (HAHAHA!)

(From seriouseats, who got it from Reddit)

The expression on that lady's face is indescribably hilarious and creepy at the same time. 

Tasty Thai Take Out

Winnie (My BFF & Blog partner) told me her best Thai restaurant in Boston!! There is no reason I will not try to taste some of her favorite ones!! So I tried three dishes.
1)PAD WOON SEN: Stir-fried bean thread noodles with mixed vegetables (Add chicken as option).
 2) YUM SEAFOOD: Fresh seafood on a bed of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, mushrooms, red onions, lemongrass and scallions with a chili paste lemon dressing. Spicy!Spicy!
3) CHICKEN MANGO CURRY: Sliced of chicken breast with sweet mango chunks, onion, summer squash, carrots and peppers in coconut milk and a special yellow curry sauce.
I enjoyed very much for all dishes. Only one thing I can comment is Chicken Mango curry was not spicy enough for me and it was a little too sweet. But I liked them and would like to try other menu too!! It is very good to have Thai food and cold beer!!

NUD POB Thai Cuisine

Make Sweet Japanese Pumpkin (or root vegetables)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

This dish was introduced to me by my friend Keiko A., who served it at her party. I was amazed how satisfying and appetizing this dish was, so I urged Keiko to share her recipe with me. When the opportunity arose and I picked up a pumpkin (not kuri) and some fresh carrots at a friend's vegetable farm-share, I knew I had to try it. For best results, a kuri pumpkin is recommended. I usually have it with rice or porridge (mueh or okayu) or snack it neat.

For a step by step guide,

Make Pumpkin Whoopie Pie!

Friday, April 16, 2010

B suggested we make pumpkin whoopie pie for a thanksgiving potluck last fall as a joint project. I love pumpkin, I love whoopie pie! That chewy brownie-moist cakey texture reflected a well-proportioned recipe ( from SeriousEats). Even after refrigeration, the cakes were still moist and the crumb was tender. I would dare say that they tasted even better after a few days. The cream cheese frosting was amazingly good. I'm not much of a sugary sweet frosting kinda person but the slight savoriness of the cream cheese made me scarf down more WP than I'd like to admit. We got pumpkin-in-a-can so no excuses about pumpkin not being seasonal now.
Here's the recipe, accompanied by pictures I took.

Japanese Citron (Yuzu) jam from Tomi-san

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My mother sent to me a homemade Yuzu (Japanese Citrus) jam from Japan. So I would like to introduce the recipe of this fresh and savor jam. You can enjoy this jam with tea, yogurt or  pancake!


・fresh yellow yuzu (skin/juice/pulp) 500g
・granulated sugar (caster sugar)250g
・1/2 cup of water
1) Cut Yuzu in half, remove seeds and stem end. Slice rind thin or grind fine.
2) Pour into the deep pan and cook slowly 1-2 hours until tender.( Change water 3 times)
3) Add granulated sugar and simmer 30 minutes until it jells.
4) Pour into sterilized glasses and seal.

I'm dreaming of Bibimbap...and puppies!

It's been a while since I made collages on Polyvore and i recalled this one I made on bibimbap ingredients. 

Items in this virtual set:
Pickled Radish takuwan, Cucumbers, Roasted Sesame Seed, Kikkoman Soy Sauce, Cooked Rice, Kimchi, Carrot slices, Cho Gochujang, Unagi (Broiled eel), toasted Sesame seeds, Beverages: Yuzu concentrate, green tea + puppy as my garnish (just kidding!)
Puppy Bibimbap

But in reality.... I made THIS!
On a bed of Olive-lemon rice, I layered Korean beansprouts (Sookju Namul that I made), oven-roasted brussel sprouts, cucumbers, kimchi, bulgogi pork and sweet anchovies and fish cake. And topped it off with Cho Gochujang (Korean Vinegared Chilli sauce). I'm gonna have dinner now.
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