Fav Pics: Pickled Veggies

Summer veggies getting ready for the brine

I love the colors of this pickles. The natural light in my kitchen always made my kitchen picture looks so beautiful. I got most of the veggies from my local farmers market. The recipe is from smittenkitchen.com and her beautiful pics inspired me to make it myself. This recipe is delicious and get in a salad.

Recipe Testing: Ricotta Cherry Scones

Look what I got in the mail.

Joanne Chang’s Pastry Love. I’ve seen delicious posts of recipes from the book, and I caved in during Prime day.

But what should be my first bake from this book? I was inspired by what was in the refrigerator, cherries, and ricotta I’ve was saving for cannoli pound cake from Smitten Kitchen (one of my favorite pound cake recipe). It would be Ricotta Cherry Scones.

The only problem I was missing a few ingredients: superfine sugar, creme fraiche, and dried cherries. Once again, I’m winging it because I’m just too lazy to run out to the market. I decided to use regular sugar (I’m sure it would come out better with superfine, but with the limited space in the kitchen, regular sugar would work out fine). I happen to have sour cream, and that would be my replacement for creme fraiche. And I had a small amount of dried cherries but not enough. So I made up the rest with blueberries and golden raisins.

One great takeaway from this bake is pitting cherries with a stainless steel straw was quick and easy. Don’t spend your money on pitter. The straw worked out great.


As I measured out the wet ingredients, I had just a little bit left of ricotta and sour cream. I just dumped it in. I can’t stand waste or leaving just a little bit to go bad in the refrigerator. Well, I will end up adjusting the flour at the end to thicken up the batter.

Oh, I forgot. My mom told me to use the blueberries that we had hanging around.

With all this improvisation, I got a baker’s dozen instead of six. Haha. I was a little worried this would be a total fail because I went off so much. But in the end, these turn out delicious and light. I would add more zest next time. I think it would make it even better. I can see how an all cherry version would be so delicious. I used Joanne’s suggestions and froze half the recipes for another time. Definitely a make.

Fav Pics

I got a new idea for a new feature while cleaning out my photo collections. I haven’t looked back at them for a while, and there were so many that I loved. So I decided to share these favorites as a weekly feature. I would love to have it short and sweet, but I want to add a recipe in the first photo I picked. Haha. 

FAV PICS: I took this picture to promote one of our favorite desserts at the restaurant, Caramelized Apple Bread Pudding.  I forgot about this pic and how good it looks. Wasn’t easy to get a good picture from the restaurant. Always on the run.

I thought I’d share this recipe. I was making bread pudding for the restaurant with all the extra bread we had. My customers keep coming back for it and always getting it to-go when they are too stuffed from dinner.

Caramelized Apple Bread Pudding

Serves eight large pieces or twelve regular size pieces

  • 1-gallon zip lock bag of stale bread, cubed**
  • 1/2 c raisins
  • Custard
  • 3 c whole milk 
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T butter plus extra 1-2 T butter for pan

Caramelized Apples

  • 3 medium apples, peeled and sliced 1/8″ thick*
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten

Vanilla Sauce

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar–you can add more or less to taste

Grease the baking dish with 1–2 T of melted butter. Note about the pan: My pan ceramic is 8 x 11″ and 3″ deep. Use a 9 x13 pan if you don’t have this size pan.  

In a large bowl, add bread and raisins and set them aside.

Making the custard

Add custard ingredients to a pot, heat over medium heat until you see tiny bubbles forming on the edges, stirring occasionally. Don’t boil. The milk should be steaming. Pour milk mixture over the bread and the raisin and mix until the milk has soaked all the bread. Don’t over mix; the bread cubes should keep their shape somewhat. Set aside.

Caramelizing the apples

Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a frying/saute pan on medium heat. Add sugar to the melted butter, slightly stir it to help it melt evenly. It should start turning brown at the edges. Stirring occasionally, all of the sugar should turn evenly brown. 

It should be light brown all over. It’s probably better to lighter than darker brown because the darker it gets, the more bitter it will taste.


Add the sliced apples and stir into the caramelized sugar.

This moment is when you will probably freak out because you think you ruin your beautifully caramelized sugar. Nope, you didn’t. The sugar will seize (becomes hard clumps) because of the juice from the apples, but keep stirring the sugar and apples together. The apples will start producing a lot of fluid, and the clumps of sugar will melt into the liquid. 


Reduce the apple juice/sugar mixture to half, and the apples should tender by then.

Pour the apple/sugar mixture into the bread custard mix. Mix the apple and bread well, so everything is evenly distributed.

Now turn on your oven to 350º. Once my oven is ready, the mixture is cool enough to add the eggs to the bread custard mix. Mix well, trying not to break up the cubes. Pour mixture into butter dish/pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. The top should be golden brown and puffed up a bit. You can you a cake tester to see if it comes out clean or press down on the top with your finger, and if it springs back, it’s ready. 

Vanilla Sauce

Mix all the ingredients well. 

Serve it warm with a drizzle of vanilla sauce.

This recipe keeps well in the freezer. I slice it up into the serving size, double wrap in plastic wrap, then in foil. Should keep for a month. Take out and defrost in the refrigerator. Heat the slice for a minute in the microwave or toaster to get the texture of the bread soft. 


NOTES

*I use fuji because it holds up to the caramelization but uses whatever apples you like.

** I get my bread from the restaurant, usually hard rolls. I cube the bread, put it in the gallon-sized zip-lock bags, and throw them in the freezer. So I have the bread ready to make when I need it. It’s usually 5-6 hard rolls to fill a gallon freezer bag. Stale bread works the best for this recipe. If the bread is too fresh, it becomes mushy when you add the wet ingredients. Still useable/eatable but doesn’t look as good. I have added some slices of whole wheat bread to the mixture; it adds a nice sweetness. 

Recipe Testing: Brussel Sprout Shiozuke

My parents never had brussel sprouts before I roasted some up for dinner the other night. My Auntie M was telling my mom how delicious they were so I decided to make some and my parents enjoyed them. My mom kept asking about them and how they grew and that they reminded her of little cabbage. This made me think I could make some pickles with them.

pre-prepped sprouts

I’m not sure if I every explained what tsukemono is. Tsukemono is Japanese pickles. You may have gotten them with your meal at a Japanese restaurant. There are several different styles of pickles. For the brussel sprouts, I’ll be using shiozuke, salt pickling. Just One Cookbook has a great description on shiozuke. Here’s the link: https://www.justonecookbook.com/tsukemono-shiozuke-salt-pickling/

I still had half a bag of sprouts and I decided to try them out with the cabbage tsukemono recipe from justonecookbook.com. This recipe has cucumbers in it. I didn’t have any so it was all Brussel sprouts, little dried chili, and sliced Kombu (seaweed).

Brussel Sprout Shiozuke
adapted from justonecookbook’s Japanese Pickled Cabbage

1/2 bag of organic Brussel sprouts (about 750gm), cored and quartered
1 3/4 t sea salt
1 dried chili, sliced
2″ x 2″ piece of Kombu, sliced

Add sprouts into a ziplock bag. Then add the rest of the ingredients and massage salt into the sprouts. Squeeze out as much of the air from the bag. I place the bag into a baking pan and add weights to it. I try and get at least 5 pounds on it. I usually flip it and massage the sprouts after the first couple of hours to see if it has produce some water. I leave it on the counter with the weight for the rest of the day. Then refrigerate it. It’s ready to eat the next morning. We eat with our meals just a little side dish for everyone. It’s crunchy and sweet from the brussel sprouts. We finish it in a week or so.*


*I feel like I need to add a giant note here. I’m a newbie at tsukemono and this is my first batch with Brussel sprouts. I wish I took better notes but I didn’t. And I didn’t realize so many people would be show interest in this recipe. Please bear with me with this recipe. Thanks.

For the salt, it’s approx. 2% of salt to the weight of sprouts. I may have add slight more, maybe 2 t. because I thought it would help soften up the firmness of sprout.

The chili that I use isn’t too hot. Not sure what type it is, it’s red, about and 1″ to 1.5″ long. If you don’t like hot you probably can leave it out. I’ve used to add fresh chili when I didn’t have dried but that is much hotter. I use a kitchen scissors to chop it up

Kombu is edible dried seaweed. It comes is sheets or strips. I used a strips version, like this can be order from Amazon. You also can eliminate or substitute it with sliced ginger or lemon rind. It will slight change the taste but still I’m sure it will be delicious.

The only other note I wanted to add was I thought this recipe turn out delicious and I think a Kimchi version would be great, too. I haven’t tried kimchi yet but when I do, I’ll make a sprout version.

Recipe Testing: Pickled Ogo

Coming back to Hawaii has triggered many food memories for me–shave ice (extra fine snow cone), seed (flavored preserved fruit), malasada (Portuguese yeasty donut), to name a few. Pickled ogo popped in my mind during my monthly girls’ zoom meetup. J was telling us about the Marine Learning program at Waianae High School, raising and selling ogo. That spiraled into talking about pickled ogo and ended with four of us buying 5lbs each. 

What is “ogo”? 

Blanched in salt water

Ogo is an edible seaweed that we used to handpick at the West Oahu beaches when we were kids. It has since been over harvest, and only the people who know the secret spot pick it. Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, and Hawaiian use it in their dishes. The Hawaiian name for this variety is called Limu Manauea. You can find it mixed in with different pokes.

I just learned that ogo is short for ogonori, which means large amounts of ocean moss in Japanese. Here’s a link to an article about ogo and Waianae’s Marine Learning Program, where I got my giant 5lb bag full. Here’s another piece if you want more information about the different limu (seaweed in Hawaiian).

The recipe

The funny part about the recipe is I thought my mom had one at the ready. I have distinct memories of coming home from the beach and her cooking up a storm making the pickled ogo. But when I asked her, she didn’t have a recipe. But my friend, Google, did several recipes. They were similar in ingredients, with slight variation in amounts. I picked this one, “My Dad’s Ogo,” from feeding my ohana.

First off, a 5lb bag of ogo is enormous. In my mind, it should be half the size. Fitting it in the refrigerator overnight was challenging, and I played refrigerator Jenga to make it work.

Smelled like the ocean
Ingredients ready to go: chili pepper, garlic, onion, green onion, shoyu, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, no sesame seeds

The hardest part was blanching the ogo in salted (Hawaiian) boiling water. It cooks so fast, as soon as it turned green, within seconds, I was scooping it out of the water to drain in the colander. Back and forth, back and forth. Remember, there were 5 pounds to blanch.

I got through half minus a bag of ogo saved for another time. I decided I better see how much of the dressing I need to cover half the bag. I figured to double the recipe would cover it. I mixed all the ingredients well, making sure the sugar dissolved. On tasting, I added a tablespoon more of shoyu. It needed a more saltiness to it.

I dumped everything into a giant yellow Tupperware container from the 70s and mixed well. Everyone (Mom, Dad, and I) had a taste test and agreed it was delicious. Letting it sit would make it even better.

First batch done

Still had another half to do but had an evening training, so that would have to wait till tomorrow morning. Mom wanted a version with Gochujang in the dressing.

First thing in the morning, started the salted water to boil. Now that I’ve done it once, I have the process to follow. The dressing would be similar to version one, without garlic or round onions plus five teaspoons of gochujang.

L to R: version one with garlic and onions, version two with gochujang, version three with salted cucumbers, more rice wine vinegar, and gochujang

Mom made a version of her own using the gochujang version; adding sliced salted cucumbers and more rice wine vinegar (not sure how vinegar she added; I say approximately 1/4 cup). It was more like a namasu dressing-much tarter than rest. I would have added another teaspoon for gochujang for a little sweetness and umami.