Recipe testing: Hurricane Douglas Dinner

What do you do when you are waiting for Hurricane Douglas to arrive. Well, I decided to make a dinner of Japanese dishes that I’ve been wanted to try for a while.  Tonkatsu (pork cutlets with savory sauce) and simmered daikon (Japanese radish). My mom added spaghetti salad (like Hawaii Mac salad but with spaghetti). 

I started cooking around noon-ish just in case we lost power. Started with the simmered daikon in a dashi sauce. I used TabiEats Simmered Daikon [link: https://youtu.be/GXpiOZ6QrYE]. I just started watching Shinichi and Satoshi’s Youtube channel about food and travel. They do feature Japanese recipes and this recipe looks so delicious, plus I got two more homegrown daikon from my mom’s friend.  

Sliced the center section into four 1 1/2″ pieces. They all should all be the same height and size to cook evenly. I peeled and rounded the edges of the rounds. Satoshi explained the rounded edges help the daikon from breaking apart. Then place and “X” one side of the round, about 1/2 inch deep. This “X” helps the daikon absorb the sauce it is cooked in.

The daikon is prepped for cooking. Place in pot big enough to fit all of the rounds in a single layer, “X'” side down. Satoshi suggest to a 1 tablespoon of uncooked rice to the pot to help take out impurities from the daikon. Add water to cover the top of the daikon. Bring to boil then turn down to simmer. Cook to daikon is soft, to test stick a screwer or paring knife in the center if it goes in and comes easily, it is done.

Once daikon is soft enough, put is a bowl of water to clean and add to a clean pot (as before in a single layer) “X” side down. Add sauce ingredients bring to boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook to daikon turns a light brown. I did help the daikon along by spooning the sauce over them every so often.

Ready to eat

Serve with a little bit of sauce. It was so tender and sweet with the mild dashi flavor. I could eat this as my meal with pickled veggies and rice. Yum.


While I was simmering the daikon, I prepped the leftover daikon to make shoyuzuke (pickled daikon in soy sauce). I made shoyuzuke with cucumbers and celery and decide to try it with daikon. I quartered, sliced and salted the daikon, letting them sit longer that I usually do with the cucumbers. I then added the slices to the my mason jars, then added minced ginger and a chopped chili pepper. I poured the brine in to the jars. They should be ready to eat in 3 hours but we’ll try it tomorrow as we needed to finish the other daikon that I made. I swished around the brine to get the flavor to the top.

While on tsukemono (pickled veggies), I decide to try a eggplant in hot mustard sauce. Here’s the link to recipe I decided to try: https://tgmeltingpot.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/eggplants-in-mustard-tsukemono/

No finished shot yet. I’m letting it sit in the mustard get more flavor. This is my first eggplant Tsukemono. Let’s see how it goes.

Now for the main course, Tonkatsu. Been thinking of the fabulous tonkatsu I had on my trip to Japan last year and decided I’m going try and recreate it.

I really like Just One Cookbook’s recipe and decide to try it out. Here’s the link: https://www.justonecookbook.com/tonkatsu/ I also used her recipe for tonkatsu sauce.

I really like the technique she gives for frying it really was crispy and still juicy, not oil. Next time I’m going to use the boneless pork chops instead. I picked up different cut was sliced thinner than pork chop. But I can see how a thicker cut would taste better, more like what I had in Japan. Her tonkatsu sauce was good, I would add less sugar or some shoyu to make it slightly more salty.

One last thing is Mom’s spaghetti Mac salad. Hawaii Mac salad has hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, elbow macaroni, and Best Food mayonnaise. This salad uses spaghetti instead of macaroni, adds, can of black olives, minced onion. Looks a bit odd but it’s a great combination.

we had some at lunch

That’s my Hurricane Douglas dinner. It’s was good use of waiting around in the humidity before the storm. I think we dodged a bullet and the storm move north and we probably missed what could have been bad. Glad I did something productive and tasty at the same time.

Recipe testing: daikon and green papaya

Decided to try out a daikon (Japanese radish) Tsukemono recipe. I had a daikon left of from my tonjiru recipe and I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while.

Pickled Daikon

Here’s the link to recipe: https://www.justonecookbook.com/pickled-daikon/

slices of daikon

I peeled and sliced the daikon into 1/4″ thick slices. Then everything goes into a ziplock bag.

rest of the ingredients for the pickled daikon

Toss in rest of the ingredients (kosher salt, rice wine vinegar, sake, chopped dried chili, and sugar) into a ziplock bag with the daikon. I didn’t have dried chili so I tried a small fresh chili.

Lock the bag and mush all the ingredients together. Open and close bag, getting as much air out of bag. Toss in the refrigerator and let sit for 2 days. I turned and mushed the ingredient around after the first day to distribute the brine again.

after 2 days of fermenting

Green papaya salad

We got four green papayas from a friend who cut down their tree. Decided to try green papaya salad recipe from norecipe.com. Here’s the link to the recipe: https://norecipes.com/green-papaya-salad-recipe/

prepping the green papaya for the salad

I peeled and shredded the papaya. I use a julienne peeler but you could use a mandolin or do the the Thai way with the knife. I took the easy way out. The green papaya was to be hard to the touch, and the skin was shiny. One was a bit riper than the others but was okay to use.

dried shrimp soaking in water

I soaked the dried shrimp in water to soften up and started to prepare the dressing.

dressing of fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, sugar, and chili pepper

The dressing has fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, sugar (coconut sugar if available), and fresh chili pepper. You can use a mortar and pestle or food processor to bring it together but I chopped the garlic and chilis well and mixed to gather in my measuring cup.

Also in the salad is grape tomatoes, halved, green beans, sliced into 2″ sections, chopped peanuts, and chopped cilantro. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and toss well. I made this ahead around midday to have it at dinner. I let it rest and marinate in the refrigerator till it was time. I forgot to take a picture of the finish product but got one a day old.

leftovers for tonight’s meal

It was delicious and would definite make again if I can get the green papaya.

Recipe testing: Tsukemono

I’ve been on a kick with Japanese pickles, tsukemono. I followed a recipe from Just One Cookbook youtube channel for Shoyuzuke (soy sauce pickles). She made on sauce with 4 different veggies. I decided to try the cucumber and celery version.

Link for the recipe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NLBQi1REhw

Japanese cucumbers

I made this version before and really like them. This batch I added the shredded salted kombu and minced ginger. This time I sliced the cucumber thicker than previous version.

I salted and massaged the cucumbers, let it set for about 5 minutes to get excess water out. I followed Just One Cookbook and used a dish cloth to get as much water out as possible.

Then I added them to mason jars but didn’t add the glass weights that she uses in the video because I didn’t have any. Here’s the link of ones that I’m thinking of buying https://smile.amazon.com/Fermentation-Vegetables-Submerged-Fermenting-FDA-Apporved/dp/B079NXB6R5/ref=sr_1_3?crid=3J6GA8YYCAGBU&dchild=1&keywords=glass+weights+for+fermenting&qid=1594837940&sprefix=glass+weights%2Caps%2C237&sr=8-3

I used 3 large Japanese cucumbers and it filled 3 quart size large mouth mason jars. I added the salted shredded kombu (soaked in water to soften then squeezed out the excess water) and minced ginger.

I made 3 recipes of brine, to for cucumbers and 1 for the celery. I add the brine to the 3 bottle. Brine will not come up to the top of the bottle, probably about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way. This is where the weights comes in but I didn’t do since I didn’t have it.

Instead of weights, I just shook the brine around in the bottle, tipping the bottle upside down. I kept the cucumbers on the counter for about 2 hours shaking the bottle when I remembered. Then in the refrigerator. They are ready to eat in 3 hours.

Celery

I didn’t get pictures of this process but I had celery that I wanted to use up. I followed the recipe per the video and I made enough for one bottle. I used the same shaking technique as the cucumbers.

Here’s the final product of my work.

celery on the left and cucumbers on right

Final review from Joe and Cora: Oishii (delicious in Japanese)

My review: love the crunch and the flavor of the celery. Like the what the sesame oil in this version. Cucumbers are better thicker and love the combination of kombu and ginger.

Worth the try. Great on the salad and no dressing needed. Next up daikon tsukemono.

Recipe testing: Takenoko Gohan

Bamboo Grove

Or Bamboo Shoots Rice. I went foraging for takenoko (bamboo shoots) last weekend with E and L. I never did this before, it sounded like fun. E and L were my knowledgeable guides. We meet at a secret location walked through bamboo grove for out hunt.

L and E the Bamboo Shoot hunters

The first location wasn’t as fruitful as E and L thought it would be. We walk down the road to try another trail and BINGO! We hit the jackpot.

bamboo shoot harvested

Lining the both sides were the shoots and even smaller babies that we may go back for more. We took off the outer leaves and broke them up into smaller pieces for easier transport.

Each of us got 2 grocery bag full of shoots that needed to prep for cooking. Fresh bamboo shoots need to be boiled to soften and take the bitterness out. I cooked it for 2 hours and they were still bitter.

L suggested to soak in water till the it’s not bitter, changing the water every day. Soaked batch 1 overnight with 2 water changes and that did it. Bitterness gone and ready for our Father’s Day dinner.

Menu

Our dinner would be Takenoko Gohan and Chicken Tofu with bamboo shoots. As alway I forgot to take the step by step process of dinner but I did get the finish product.

Ready to be served

For the Takenoko Gohan I use a recipe from Just One Cookbook. Here’s the link: http://receita de takenoko gohan. We use a mixture of brown and white rice that we soaked prior to starting cooking. I took the easy way out with the dashi and use the dashi powder. I used 1.5 teaspoon. The flavor of the rice is a mild savory flavor. The bamboo shoots to the mild flavor of the seasoning, also. It was a good compliment to the chicken tofu.

This is the Chicken Tofu recipe I used from Hawaiian Electric. Here’s the link: https://www.hawaiianelectric.com/recipes/find-a-recipe/pork-or-chicken-tofu I added about cup of the bamboo shoots and a teaspoon of dashi powder to the recipe. After tasting, I added a dash of additional shoyu (soy sauce) and 1/2 cup of water because I though it was too sweet.

Dinner is served

If you can find fresh bamboo shoots at the market or foraging around a bamboo grove. Give these recipes a try. It was delicious. More bamboo shoot recipes to come. Going to try a braise recipe and looking for a pickle recipe to try. Enjoy.

Cora’s 90th

Mom and Dad with her birthday banner

It was Mom’s 90th birthday yesterday. I think she had a good one. I surprised her by asking a couple of aunties, uncles, and cousins if they could stop by to wish her a “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”. It worked out great because everyone showed up at different times and kept her busy all day. She also go calls from my sister, niece, nephew, uncle from the mainland, good family friend, and video from my cousin and girls in NYC.

I say her day was filled with happy birthday surprises. Here a few pictures from the day.

You only turn 90 once so I decide to make her two birthday desserts–Mixed Berry pie and Chocolate cake. Share with all her visitors.

Recipe Testing: Iris’ Hijiki Rice

yum!

Our collective agreement for Christmas dinner would be Iris’ hijiki rice and crispy roast pork belly. Iris is my mom’s cousin who is has a lot great recipes that I’m so happy she shares with me. She’s the lead cook at her church’s ladies group which makes delicous food items and hand crafted pieces for their annual bazaar in October.

Hijiki rice was one of the items from the bazaar that was so delicious that I asked her for the recipe and asked if she could show me how to do it. It is a seasoned rice dish with sushi rice with hiijiki (seaweed), vegetables, konnyaku (a jelly-like item made out of the Konnyaku potato) and kamaboko (fishcake)

Prepping Ingredients

chopping the ginger

I got Mom and Dad involved with the prep and the taste testing. At first I thought there was a lot of chopping but I remember Iris telling to use the food processor to do all the chopping.

Our Dinner

It was a very tasty meal and glad we made it. We will be making few adjustments–less soaking of the rice, maybe add mushroom or string beans for our next try.

The Recipe

Iris’s Hijiki Bara Sushi
serves: 12

4 cups (rice cooker cups) of rice-cooked

Filling for rice
3/4 cup hijiki, washed and soaked
1 gobo, chopped fine, soak in water so it doesn’t brown until ready to cook, drain well
1 carrot, chopped fine
1 konnyaku, chopped fine
1/2 Kamaboko (uzumaki, without the board), chopped fine
2 aburage, chopped fine
1 Tbsp oil (should be a neutral oil, like canola)

Sauce for filling
3 Tbsp Sugar
1/4 cup Shoyu (soy sauce)
1 teaspoon Hondashi (instant dashi)
-Mix together well.

Vinegar sauce for rice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Japanese rice vinegar
1 tsp salt
ginger, 1″ piece, minced finely
-Mix everything together except ginger in sauce pan, bring to boil and cool. Add ginger and mixed well.

  1. Cut all ingredients for filling [Iris suggest to use the food processor]
  2. Make vinegar sauce, set aside to cool
  3. Cook rice
  4. While rice is cooking, start cooking the filling
  5. Add oil to frying pan on med-high, add aburage until crispy
  6. Add carrots and gobo, cook about 2 minutes
  7. Add hijiki, konnyaku, and kamaboko, cook for couple more minutes
  8. Add filling sauce, turn down heat to medium
  9. Mix well and cook until carrots are tender
  10. Rice should be cooked by then, add vinegar sauce to hot rice, mix well
  11. Then add filling to the rice, mix well

Additional add-in for filling: shiitake mushroom, string bean



Random things

Of what I’ve been doing lately.

Frogged (ripped out)

yarn from Japan

Started this cowl, found a mistake, got irritated, frogged.

Actually been frogging most things these days. Knitting isn’t making happy. After I bought all this beautiful yarn from Japan, I’ve decide to take a break to let my knitting.

Baking and Jamming

Cooler weather brings baking and jamming–banana chocolate chip bread, caramelized onion, carrots, and pepper quiche, custard pie, pickled veggies for salads, mixed berries jam, almond shortbread, and blueberry custard pie.

Sunset, Beer and Friends

Last minute sunset outing with friends.

Keep on hiking

Sights from my many hikes at Aiea Loop Trail. Maybe one day I’ll get others to another trail.

Sleepy cats

Orange and Ollie napping around the house. Ollie is usually up high, too hard to get a shot.

Stages of Recipe Testing

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Got a poppy on my way out of the store, buying my ingredients for recipe testing. Boy scouts and Vets collecting for charity.

I decided to recipe test Milk Bar’s Compost Cookies. I want to see how it compared to mom’s garbage cookies. Both recipes have a lot of ingredients. I used the recipe Anderson Cooper’s favorite cookies: compost cookies from www.tablefortwoblog.com.

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My attempt at Crack pie

I’ve made the Crack pie recipe from Christina Tosi before and I love the addition of milk powder and the compost cookies have it in it, too. That’s one point in favor of compost cookies. Maybe I can take all the things I like in the compost and garbage cookies and make a new cookie.

 

I put the frozen butter out for before my walk and 5.7 miles later the butter perfectly soften for my cookies. Getting all the ingredients out was quite a task. Still getting used to Mom’s kitchen and where things are at. We are still trying to reorganize it to make sense to both of us but haven’t finished. Mom measuring out all the mix-in to make that quick. There were few miscommunications with mom–she dumped the rising agents into the mix-ins but I don’t think it hurt the cookie.

Christine Tosi likes to make special ingredients for her recipe. They are special mix-ins like the graham cracker crust. But. . . you always end up making more than you need. So you either need to make more or toss it out. Is this an evil scheme for you to keep making her recipes. haha

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Stages of recipe testing: baking

  1. place chilled cookie balls on the sheets
  2. place in oven for 18 minutes?
  3. 8 minutes in the oven, cookies have melted into the correct shape. That’s good? Maybe?
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  4. Oh NO! The top sheet, back row browning faster than other cookies.
  5. Calm down, turn the sheet around.
  6. Oh, Noooooo! Burning, burning, burning.
  7. Hotplate! Hotplate! Hotplate!

Did I mention that Mom’s oven runs a little hot probably about +25º!

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I think this is a properly baked one. Little black flecks are the coffee grounds

Finished product. I didn’t like the cookie right out of the oven. I thought it was too sweet. But the next day, it was really good. Even the koge (Japanese for burnt) ones were good. Mom’s only complaint was the cookie was too big. Next time I’ll use the smaller scoop and lower the oven temperature a bit.

Up to my old tricks

Guess what I found–a bag of slight damaged fruit at one of the store in my town. I think I mentioned it before. $2.99 for a bag of 2 grapefruits, 1 mineola, 2 red plums, 1 pluot, and 4 peaches. I wasn’t even looking for it. Just went shopping for ingredients for my dinner I was cooking for my parents.

I made a batch of stone fruit jam. Of course, my tasters had to try all the fruit to see if they were ripe enough–haha. Add the mineola zest to the jam and gave my parents 2/3 of the fruit to taste and 1/3 of fruit chopped up for the jam. Kind of winged it using what I new about making plum and peach jam. Got 4 half pints to add to my mom’s jam collection in her frig. Sorry no pictures.

In the meantime, my stuff arrived and I was able to sort and put away 2/3s of it in my storage unit and 1/3 will stay with me till my place is done.

My kitchen/baking equipment came just in time to finished off last of the bag–the ruby grapefruits and turned them into 2 batches of grapefruit cake. I used a recipe from sally’s baking addiction. It had a great smell of citrus and sweetness from the brown sugar. I didn’t add the glaze because all of us don’t need that extra sugar. It was perfectly sweet, just enough.

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the darker on was from the 1st batch. I was trying to set up my echo.

The one item that I was looking forward to arriving was my pressure cooker. Now that I have 2 other people to cook for using the pressure cooker is so silly. For pressure cooker meal: Corned Beef and veggie. Used this recipe as a base and timing. I didn’t use chicken broth or fresh thyme, I didn’t have it in the house. Use water instead and went without the thyme. The meat and veggies were tender and tasted great. It was served with hapa rice and tsukemono (japanese pickles–top: namasu–pickled cucumbers with daikon, carrots, and seaweed; middle: takuwan–pickled daikon; bottom: Spicy daikon. All homemade by a family friend. They are all so delicious and crunchy. My ranking are top, bottom, middle.

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Write more later with adventures.

What I want to make : one

I can’t use my kitchen since I’m showing my house. Never know when you will get a moments notice that someone is coming to see it. I’m trying to keep it as clean as possible. But this has got me wanting to make stuff.

Here’s list one of a few links of stuff I want to make.

roasted tomato salsa

I make this every year, several time during the summer when I can good tomatoes. I’ll make the a batch on my little old grill for everyone at work. I’m sure they will be happy. Here’s link to my old post from my previous blog with the recipe.

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3 quarts of roasted summer tomatoes salsa

ruffle milk pie

This recipe I found from smittenkitchen.com. I had something like this on my epic bakery crawl I had with my girlfriend from HI and NYer guide at Pi Bakerie. I think the item was called Galaktoboureko Pi. It was so creamy and delicious. I don’t think it’s the same thing but sounds similar.

one last great cake

I LOVE LAYERED CAKE! and I want to make a cake before I go but . . .  MY LIST IS TOO LOOOONG! and I don’t have enough time to make them all with testing in between and keep my kitchen clean enough to keep showing my house. may something with curd like this cake or tea like this cake

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This is an Dorie Greespan’s recipe that I made for my Mom and Annika’s birthday

something savory

My list is long and I want to make everything. Not having a kitchen to use is really making me hungry and want to cook for myself. Yotam Ottolenghi is my favorite of recent. I love everything I make of his. Still my favorite is his Turkey Zucchini Burgers. I use this link to make it. But I really want to make is a the top left next to the colorful bars–Onions Bhajis. I never had one but it looks like a crispy onion fritter. yum!

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just a part of the savory list on Pinterest

getting rid of my supplies

The end is near and I liked to use up my supplies by making stuff for friends. I have a big box of old fashion oatmeal, a bag of Thai tea, bottle of malted milk powder. . . I hope I not much more. I’d like to make a more butterscotch oatmeal cookies, granola, Thai tea cupcakes with condensed milk buttercream, malted milk biscuits

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Thai Tea Cupcakes that I made for the restaurant