Monday, October 27, 2014

KABOCHA TEUCHI UDON (Homemade UDON with Japanese Pumpkin)

KABOCHA TEUCHI UDON was a highlight of this weekend.  Since fresh raw RAMEN did not reappear at the grocery store for over two months now, in disappointment, it's time to make my own.   I searched for some recipe for noodle, but after kneading the basic dough for TEUCHI UDON, I decided to add mashed KABOCHA.   KABOCHA is Japanese pumpkin that was previously roasted, mashed.  I was going to freeze some of it for future use, but this is a great opportunity to find out how it will be if mixed into the UDON dough.
A night before serving, prepare the dough.
Basic TEUCHI UDON recipe is 240 mL of warm water, 15 g Kosher salt, 400 g flour.
Knead for 8 minutes. 
I added 3/4 C of mashed KABOCHA and added additional 125 g of flour during mixing.  Knead for another 8 minutes.
Refrigerate overnight.
If you do not have a powerful commercial size mixer, after initial mixing by hand over the work surface,  place the formed dough ball in a heavy duty 1 gallon size freezer zip lock bag.  Rest for 30 minutes in refrigerator.  Roll it flat in the bag as you release air out of the bag and zip lock it.  Then, place on a clean floor surface and with a clean foot, of course, gently knead the dough with your foot.  Every minute, turn the dough in the bag over to fold and press down with your foot.  Knead for 8 minutes.  Then place in refrigerator for overnight or minimum of 3 hours of rest period.  This method is mentioned in many other bloggers' site.   And I think it is a very innovative method when a heavy duty mixer is not available and in place of strong arms.
Take a portion of the dough out of the bag onto a well floured work surface.
Chop a bunch of well washed green onions and set aside.
Set aside your favorite vege pickles and accompaniment for the noodles.  Hard boiled eggs, Exxo sauce, shrimp cakes, fish cakes, etc.
Start boiling a large pot of water.  Prepare your favorite soup base - DASHI base - 600 mL boiling water, 20 g shaved BONITA - KATSUOBUSHI (sold at Asian market in Japanese section), 20 g KONBU (dry, cut, kelp or sheet kelp for DASHI making).   5 to 6 pieces of SHIITAKE.  Simmer for 30 minutes.   Add 1/8 C Soy sauce when ready.
 Roll the dough out into a manageable rectangle.  5 x 12 inches, for example, and use Pizza cutter to slice.  ** Make sure the dough before you cut is well floured or they will stick to each other.
Pull a strand away and tap the noodle on the work surface by pulling both ends in a jump rope motion to stretch the noodle.   Otherwise, roll out the dough to a thinner length and slice into noodle strips.

Add into boiling water.
After the noodle afloat to the surface, cook 1 minute longer.  Strain and transfer into a noodle bowl.

Place all the topping goodies on top of the noodle.  Ladle hot soup over them.

And serve with hot chili oil or 7-flavor chili peppers - NANAMI TOGARASHI.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Banana Bread and Banana KAKI Muffins

There are so many different recipes to try baking with persimmons, and I decided to test with my favorite banana bread recipe.  It turned out pretty good.   KAKI  (Japanese FUYU Persimmon/Non-stringent) is crisp and peeled and chopped into cubes.  Basic banana recipe is used and half of the batter is used for a small loaf of banana bread and the other half for the Banana KAKI Muffins.    I did not use very much cinnamon.  That's the whole point of my test cooking and baking with KAKI.  To find it's best taste without drowning it with spices.   The muffins are prepared with cinnamon, ground cloves, and lemon peels.
Extra KAKI are sliced and placed in freeze bag for future use; soft KAKI are gently pressed with the side of the spoon to separate it a bit and placed in ice-cube tray for later use in my future concoction... actually, I did use in the earlier post I blogged in KAKI Mochi Cookies, for example.

My Grand-Son's Lego Minecraft Birthday Cake

I love my grand-children's birthday.  Hate to see them grow up so fast, but I love the challenges they give me.  This year, it's Lego Minecraft Birthday Cake.
The cake is basic Chiffon Cakes in layers with different flavors - vanilla, chocolate, and green tea.  The challenging part is in making the Lego Minecraft figurines.  And since there are two other birthdays on the same week, there is also the biker dad, and break-dancing nephew.
It was fun making it.  What will it be for next year, I wonder.


My mother's Giant FUYU KAKI ripened really quick this year.  We did not have the chance cropping the figs this year on time, and we lost it all, basically.
Here with soft KAKI, beside pulping them and freezing them, I tried it in a couple of different reicpe.  
1/2 C Sweet Rice Flour
3 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil
1 cookie sheet with Oiled Silpat
Mix all ingredients together 
Bake at 375'F
Flip at 15 minutes
Bake 15 more minutes and flip again.  Chnage temperature to 400'F and
Bake 2-1/2 min longer.  
Remove from oven . 
Serve with sprinkles sugar on top.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Organic SOBA with Cucumber and pickles

Japanese Cold Soba is tasty and easy to make.  You can top with all kinds of Japanese pickles and shredded seaweed.   You can eat it dipped in sauce or drizzle the sauce over the noodle. 
1 pkg Organic SOBA
1 large cucumber
Varieties of pickles 
Sheet of seaweeds shredded with scissors into approx 1-1/2 in. strips

1/2 C Soy Sauce
3 TBsp sugar
5 pieces of dry SHIITAKE
Cook all in a pot.  Simmer for at least 30 minutes.   Remove everything, except mushrooms/SHIITAKE. 
Boil noodles and strain.  Set aside.
Peel cucumber, shred it or use spiral cutter.   Hold cut cucumber between the palms of hands and squeeze water out as much as you can.  

Serve with SOBA and top with you favorite pickles and sauce.

Dragon Fruits

Dragon fruits are so good for health in many ways.  They are quite expensive in the States.  If you can get hold of it, eat it as often as you can.  These two cisted me $16.50.  
In Viet-Nam it is also known as sesame seed fruits. 
Just cut, slice and peel.  And enjoy.  

KAKI doughnuts (Fuyu KAKI)

What are some ways that bring out the taste of the persimmons - FUYU KAKI.  Eating them fresh is the best.   There are over 100 recipes for persimmons .   This one is my concoction of  Persimmon doughnuts I made  with yeast dough - 1/2 tsp yeast, 1-1/2 C flour, 2 Tbsp sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 egg, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/3 C water, put more water as needed to form medium soft dough .   Knead 8 min.  After proofing, divide dough into 6 pieces.  1 C chopped KAKI.  Divide into 6 portion. Enclose chopped KAKI invthe rolled out dough.  Deep fry till done.   Sprinkle with powder sugar.   Serve warm. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Eggplant Shwarma with Persimmons

It's a persimmon season, and they are starting to ripe.  I came across this 100 Persimmon recipe book at one of bazaar and I bought just for this season to arrive.    I got eggplants from my garden snd persimmons from my mom's garden.  Can't beat the freshness than this.   I already have cooked extra long Basmati rice and cooked Bell Peppers with Chinese preserved Szechwan Radischinos and chiken to go with it.  At the end of browsing  the recipe book, I decided to create my  own, so here is my recipe. 

3 homegrown eggplants cut and basted with EVOO approx. 1/3 cup and grilled till soft in George Foreman's grill.  Set aside.  
1 Giant Fuyu KAKI  cut into cubes 7.5 oz
1 cup sour cream mixed with 1TBsp Shwarma mix
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 tsp Sirachi Chili sauce
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp Chili flakes
Small handful of Italian parsely chopped
Heat large wok with small amount of olive oil.  Add grilled eggplants and persimmon chunks.  Stir fry to heat through.   
Add all othe ingredients in, except shwarma mix and garlic.   
Stir  fry for 2 min.  Add shwarma mix and garlic.  Stir fry for one minute.  
Add chopped Italian parsely, most of them.   Save some for garnishing. 
I stacked them up to serve with spiralcut cucumbers and pickled daikon and fukujin zuke. 
It turned out pretty tasty. 
I wonder if the chiffon cake would turn out all right with persimmons?  I just had to try....fully soft ones or crunchy ones?   That will be interesting to find out.   I thimk it will taste good as persimmon Chinese glutinous rice pancake. 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Polly's Rhubarb Pie and Crumbles

It's time to harvest the rhubarb.  There aren't that many dishes you can make that I know of but these pie and crumbles turned out really good.  I remembered from last year's experience not to cut them too small, bit in large chunks.   They cook fast and 'melt' quickly when exposed to heat.   

I will post the ingredients as soon as I can, but for now it's a photo journal. 
Puff pastry is placed on top for crumbles and baked.  Once it is piffed and browned, remove from oven and flip it over right away to serve.
 Normally puff pastry is used for fillings that are more 'solid' with body, but I wanted to try differently.   And having crumbled some left over trimmings of pie dough and prepared crumble mixtures on top worked as planned to release it out of the mold when flipped over to a different brownie pan of equal size. 
Pie in the front and rhubarb crumbles over puff pastry in the background.  

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Kabocha Chiffon Cake (Japanese Pumpkin Chiffon Cake)

Everybody by now know how to make their special chiffon cake.  Tonight, I tried KABOCHA - Japanese pumpkin, Chiffon Cake.   I hope it will turn out okay.  The cake mold is turned upside down waiting for it to cool.
Prep:   Cut 1 KABOCHA into halves.  Scoop out seeds, etc.  Place a metal rack in the bottom of the roaster, if you have one.  So the pumpkin can be roasted on it. Put the bottom half of the KABOCHA in the roaster.  Add 4 Tbsp cut butter.  Place the pumpkin top back on the bottom half. Add 1 cup of water into the roaster.   Cover with the lid and roast for 40 min.   Test for doneness.   Remove from the oven. 
Let cool.  Scoop the flesh away from the skin and save 9 ounce and set aside.   Store the rest for other use.  
I roasted several squashes together.  And watch out.  If you roast them longer than they need to, the pumpkin would collapse.  

7 eggs, separated.   Place egg yolks in a large mixing bowl as you will be mixing whipped egg whites/meringue into it.
60 g sugar for egg yolk mixtures
110 g sugar for egg whites 
9 oz KABOCHA, mashed
125 ml EVOO (Light) or pure vegetable oil
80 ml Coconut milk
Shift flour and measure out 160 g Flour, then, add 1/4 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp Ceylon Cinnamon + pinch of ground cloves and Shift them together 3 times or use Whisk to whisk them together well.

Whisk egg yolks with 60 g of sugar.  Add EVOO, mashed KABOCHA, coconut milk.  Fold shifted flour in with a spatula.   Set aside to rest. 
In a large bowl whip egg whites at speed #2 for 1 minute, then speed #4 for 2 min, and When it starts to foam/form bubbles during the 2 min. start adding 110 g of sugar in a steady slow shower over 2 min period.  Increase speed to #6 and whip for 2 min.   All sugar should be mixed in before now.  Increase speed to #8 and whip for 2 min or visually you can see stiff peak forming.  

Add some to egg mixture and fold them in.
Fold and cut, fold and cut with spatula.  Preheat oven to 325'F
Add 1/3 of meringue and fold and cut, repeat, add 1/3 more, then1/3 more.  Make sure all meringues are smoothed in.   
Pour into cake mold.   I used bundt cake mold.  Run the spatula thru to release trapped air.  
Bake for 45 minutes.  Check for doneness at 40 min (depending on your gas oven). 
Remove from oven and place it upside down on a baking sheet to cool completely.   Make your favorite cream cheese frosting.   Decorate and serve.
Make sure the egg whites are all mixed in and end with smooth batter.
Prop the pan up to allow moisture to escape to prevent soggy cake. 
When you can handle the pan after cooling a bit, place on cooling rack to cool down completely.
Can't wait to see how it turned out, but at least the blog is up.  Will update with picture later.  .....
Friday, 10/3/2014 - And here it is - KABOCHA Chiffon Cake.   It is heavenly light.   Pumpkin taste is gentle and spices are just right to compliment each other.   It turned out great!
Gently loosen the cake using plastic ware all around and don't forget  the center post part.   Flip it over on a serving plate.  
Oh, I didn't make the frosting, but it is so moist and tasty without it.   I'd hate to cover it.   Try it!  You will enjoy it just the way it is.
I can think of few other chiffon cake variation now.   Until next time, hope you will enjoy making this with my recipe.