In and Around Cora’s Garden: 08.13.20

Better late than never. A post that was hanging out in my draft folder.

Cora’s garden is blooming and fruiting as the summer gets hotter and hotter. It’s been hot and humid but with a breeze (my only hope for not melting).

Fruits

papaya and calamansi

Our papaya tree ripening fruit about 1 every 3 to 4 days. Not as big as those giant ones in the beginning but still big enough for my parents to share for their morning breakfast.

The calamansi tree is hasn’t stop giving for a long time. There are new flowers and baby fruit on the trees so I don’t think it will stop for awhile. This box will be turned into marmalade.

local oranges, lemons, and limes with a papaya ready to eat.

I guess the hot and humid weather has been great for other people’s garden as we got some local oranges and lemons (ugly) which are super juicy and limes.

Long squash

And we also got this long squash. It has delicate white insides and very mild taste. It absorbs the broth it is cooked in.

Flowers

Not a whole lot of flowers, they surprising me as I find the buds as I do my morning watering.

White cattelya

This orchid had 2 previous buds that the awful slug decide to eat one before it bloomed. Moved the pot to a higher position to spare it from slimy beast.

little red anthurium

This on got repotted and I was surprised that it had a bloom. Really sweet heart blossom.

A little sad . . .

#24

. . . but I feel accomplished. I’ve decided square #24 will be my last. Making too many mistakes and spending too much time ripping things out, I feel it’s a sign to stop and making it into a finished piece.

I enjoyed this project immensely and have learned so much from it. My tension has become more even and learned that I can watch Amazon Prime Videos while doing it, even ones with subtitles (haha).

My finish piece will hopefully be done by the end of summer. I even treated myself to some new yarn for t-shirt for my next project.

Thank you so much for this KAL, Arne and Carlos.

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.

What do you have in your pantry?

Quick post on pandemic baking at my house. I had box of brownie and cream cheese in refrigerator. So I made cream cheese brownies.

This is what a designer does when she where down a recipe and instruction.

Finally product. Fast and easy. Next time I’ll leave it in a couple minutes longer to make bottom firmer. Maybe next time, I’ll bake something from scratch.

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.

Life: 07.13.2020

Few updates to my list to keep me going. And I added few new ones, too.

Aloha shirt patchwork quilt
I’ve got a lot of squares cut out but want more color in it and went to my storage unit to find Oat’s old aloha shirts that I kept for a project like this. So now, I’m in the process of taking apart more shirts. At least I decided on doing a 1/2 triangle pattern.

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a pile of Oat’s Aloha shirts to take apart

Double knit and strand work

I’m yet to start on learning double knitting. My tension of my strand work is so much better and I’m faster at reading charts that I think it will only help when I start double knitting.

almost done with #15

For non-knitters, double knitting is when you knit both front and back of the pattern at the same time. One side is the the reverse (in color) from the other. Here’s a video from Arne and Carlos about double knitting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_G5EOnRRb8.

Journaling

Got me a bright yellow journal, 2 sizes of pilot pens, correction tape and ruler to start. I’m bit of a mess, with smudges here and there. I need to take my time with those pens.

yellow journal and my supplies

It’s bit of bullet journal, bit of me just tracking things that going on with me. Like that it takes me away from my phone or my tablet which I need to do at night. It’s not colorful or pretty as some that I’ve seen on youtube and online but it’s a start. It does have sketches of ideas I have for things I want to make.

My Etsy shop

first prototype filled with items for my shop

Got 8 items done and they are hanging on my bedroom door waiting to be posted in my shop. I hope I post it by the end of the month. More to come.

New adds to my list

  • I have a plan to rework the patio where I have my sewing set up. I’m going to rearrange and get rid of items that haven’t been use in decades. Need a more usable space.
  • Make more fabric with my tiny scraps of fabric and thread.
  • Draft a blouse pattern for myself
  • make pin cushion for my cousin B and E, my sister C, and myself, maybe use the scrap fabric that I make. hmmm.

I’ll try and update my list once a month. Let’s see how far I get.

Still going . . .

. . . on my Quarantine Knit-a-Long with squares from the Quarantine Knitting Group on FB. I’m on #13 Butterfly. I’m slow people have done with their blankets. Some have made 81 squares. But this isn’t a race, it’s something to do together while were in quarantine. To inspire each other with creativity.

#13 on the needles

I was going to stop at 15 squares but I’m getting better at knitting them and decide to continue. I needed to find more dk (weight of yarn) yarn in my stash. I have tons of worsted weight but only a couple of dk; reddish purple, yellow orange, navy-er blue that I’m currently using and a muted green.

So I guess when I run out of yarn, I’ll stop. I told myself this is a stash busting project, no buying new yarn and I’m on a budget now since the furlough.

These what I have so far 12 squares. I have a new set up to knit with charts. I sit at my computer, chart on the left and movie from prime on my right. This is working much better and on top of it my tension is better and I’m reading the charts faster.

not the final layout, needed to see what combinations I have.

If you interested in doing these squares, check out Arne and Carlos blog for the square patterns. https://arnecarlos.com/the-arne-carlos-quarantine-knitting-kal-hug-me-later-pattern/

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.