Sunday, May 31, 2020

Fresh Cold Leek Potato Soup - a Quick Way

Another crazy thing not to do is to cook soup in a hot summer weather.  But I cropped it from my garden.  I thought they were garlic that I planted but, the garlic don't grow big green leaves and thick tubes.  They were next to the leeks.  Although it is very hot, I had to cook it, then, I can have cold soup for lunch and dinner.
Here is my photo journal for fresh Leek Potato Soup for 2020.  If you do a search, you can find the recipe in my previous post from a few years ago.  However, this time, I made it real simple.  No milk or cream, just cook them with chopped onions, chopped potato, a sliver of thyme in butter, salt and black pepper to taste.  Added plain water.   Cook.  Processed in InstaPot blender in Smoothie mode (which actually would have cooked it for me, but I forgot.)  The smoothie mode will process it without heat.
Leeks are growing in left side of the box
Chop leeks, 1/2 onions, 1 potato, a sliver of thyme, salt and black pepper, etc.  Saute in butter. Then, add water to cook through.
Set to Smoothie - cold process mode.

Put through the Sieve.  After though - I think it was unnecessary. 
The Smoothie process mode did a real good job.
Very tasty even a day in the refrigerator.  Enjoyed the cold soup the next day on hot 104'F day.

You can heat it up in the microwave oven for 20 sec to warm it up a tidbit, but it was delicious as is out of the refrigerator.

Polly's Quick Summer Pickled DAIKON

The pickle juice is very basic - White Vinegar, sugar to taste - SHISO leaves, Chili pepper flakes - just a few flakes is sufficient.  Ignore my picture of potful of reddish pickle juice !!! I had an accidental pouring of it.  That's why it looks so red. I took as as much as I can, but it turned the juice red anyways.  Added a few whole black pepper.  And I forgot to add Lemon juice and Lemon peel.  Oh well.
Jarring them takes the usual canning caution.  Sterilization of the jars and lids, etc.
Ready for eating in 2 to 3 weeks.
Can't wait to each them.
Ug! looks like making Enchilada sauce.
Slice the DAIKON into 3 or 4 equal length.  Then, trim the DAIKON in a circular motion as though you are peeling a 2 to 3 millimeter thick ribbons.  Then, stack them up and slice them into sticks.
Stack them into the sterilized jar.  Add the juice.  Wipe the jar mouth with clean paper towel.  Place the sterilized cap and ring. Do NOT tighten the ring all the way.  Leave it loose 1 full turn.
(Not sure where my jars and caps sterilization pictures are, but I think you know how.)
Place the filled and capped jar into a large pot of cold water and boil till you see some juice in the jar bubbling.  Turn off the heat and remove the jar on top of a towel (not on any cold surface). 
Let it cool naturally and until the dimple on top of the cap sunks in.  Tighten the jar ring.  When completely cooled.  Store in the refrigerator.
Ready to eat in 2 to 3 weeks.
Uncap and place the cap on a clean surface with lid facing up in the ring.
Always use a clean utensil to take out the amount you need.  Never with dirty/used utensil.
Wipe the jar lips clean with clean moist paper towel.    Do not leave sweet juice around the jar lips.
Place the jar cap and ring back on and refrigerate.

Stir Fried DAIKON Greens

It's kind of terrible to stir fry in the house during hot weather, especially when it hit 104'F outside and your budget can't afford turn the AC on.  But you got to eat green veges.  
So, there are few ways to eat this, but I like to stir fry the DAIKON greens (Japanese white radish).  My family gifted me a fresh DAIKON from their local farmer's market.  I am very happy to receive it because it comes with the GREENs attached.  I don't know why our local grocery stores like Raley's and Sprout got them without the greens.  Anyways, they were wilted by the time I drove 2-1/2 hours back to Sacramento, then, in the refrigerator for a couple of days.  I just wash them and soak them in a clean tub of fresh water.  After 30 minutes, the greens started to revive.  After an hour, I think they were growing.
After slicing them off the top of DAIKON, I soak them in salt water for a while, then, wash them carefully to remove any UFO. 
I cut them into small bite sizes.  Crush the garlic cloves.
Heat up the skillet hot, add the cooking oil. Add garlic cloves.  Then, ZzChaAa!!  in goes the Greens with fantastic familiar sound when my mother cook greens with her 42+ years old Chinese iron wok.
Stir all green well with the oil.  A moundful of greens will shrink within minutes.
Keep stirring.
Add 1/4 C of water, a pinch of salt to taste and Cover to cook over medium heat.
Don't go far.  It cooks really fast.
Cook for 2 minutes.
Uncover and taste.

The wilted greens looked lifeless.  This picture was taken after 10 min in water during washing.  Then soaking for 30 min.
After 30 minutes, it started to look alive.
After an hour, it started to stand up.
After an hour, it looks like it is growing.
Slice the greens off and soak them in salted water for further cleaning and washing.
The top part... I buried it in my garden.
After an hour and half.  Time to chop into bite size.
The pan is heated.  Oil is heated and shimmering.  Add garlic.
Add Greens and stir fry 2 to 3 min.  Add salt to taste.   Add 1/4 C water, Cover. Cook 2 min. 
I added some cooked extra long gran Basmati rice to make DAIKON Rice.

The DAIKON parts, I cut them into equal sizes and shaved it in circle to obtain ribbons of DAIKON.  Ready to make DAIKON sticks, so I can make DAIKON pickles.  I don't really care for the TAKUWAN because they can cause gassy stomach.  But I like refrigerator DAIKON pickles.
The root... I tossed it into my garden soil.

Stir Fried Home Grown Celery

This is a simple dish made from my home grown free volunteer celery bunch in my garden.  I planted a bottom part of the store bought celery many years ago.  I never cropped it because it always grow this skinny sticks with flowers. It keeps on growing flowers and I let it die and so forth.  This year's weather seems to please every plants and there they are - celery.  Skinny as they are, there are many.  I scissor some off and stir fried its stalks.   Tasted not bad.  Rough leafy parts went back to the yard as a compost.  I actually don't have a compost, but I just toss them into the garden.  It seems to work out like that in my yard.  My compost bin in the past is a horrifying rat trap, so I don't do that any more.

I removed most of the top most leaves as they felt pretty tough.  Wash thoroughly and soak them in water for about half an hour in salt water.  Because I do not use any chemical spray in my garden, to make sure any micro critters are popped and gone I soak and wash all vegetables in salt water.  
Stir fry with small cloves of garlic in 2 TBsp of organic avocado oil.
Add 1/4 Cup of water, pinch of salt.  Cover and cook for 2 min or so.  Done.

Stir Fried Scallops and Shrimps with Carrots and Peas

Devein shrimps and wash in salted water.  Wash thoroughly and remove tails.  Slice two large scallops in to desired sizes.  Maybe into 8 pieces each.
Have a bottom of organic Ketchup, Tonkatsu Sauce (Japanese thick vege worchestershire sauce) and Chili pepper flakes or Cayenne pepper ready.
2 cloves of garlic crushed with knife's surface, peeled and slightly chopped.
1/2 TBsp of sliced or chopped peeled ginger - your preferences for sliced - you don't eat, just for flavoring or chopped in to eat with shrimps.

Medium High Heat.  Heat Stainless Steel saute pan well.  Hold your palm above the surface and feel the heat.  Then, add 2 Tablespoons of organic avocado oil.  Spread the oil all around the pan.  Wait till the oil shimmers.
Add Garlic and Gingers.  Stir about 4 times.
Add Shrimps and Scallop pieces.
Swirl in Tonkatsu sauce - a circle and a half.
Squeeze in Ketchup 3 circles from outer to inner.
Stir.  Add chili pepper flakes or a shake of cayenne pepper.
Stir.  Add a cup of peas with carrots (frozen package, defrosted)
Stir fry till all cooked.  Shrimps are white and orangish and Scallops are all white.  Serve.

Polly's CASTELLA Cake - Finally

This was baked back in January 31.  It was the fourth recipe I tried and turned out pretty good. 
It's always fun to beat up a great meringue.
Add egg yolks one at a time and beat well into meringue.
Sprinkle flour in  a small portion at a time and mix well.
Pour into greased parchment paper.  Pour it in slowly to release large air pockets.
Tap the mold a couple of times to release trapped air bubbles on countertop lined with towel.  The desired result is a cake with fine crumb resembling pound cake.   Notice the ingredients (at the bottom) that there is no addition of "fat" in preparation.
Bake in two cake pans.  Outer cake pan is slightly bigger than the inner and holds the Aluminum walls.

Revert the slightly cooled cake onto a reversed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Slice the sides off to expose the tender crumbs.  The cut offs are your reward before the crowd.
Slice and serve.  Looks like there were still some more trapped air bubbles.  Better job the next time.
Ingredients in my recipe are as follows:
85 g egg whites
60 g sugar
60 g egg yolks
Add 20 g honey
60 g Flour - I use Natural White Premium AP Flour, Unbleached, Unbromated by WheatMontana
                    Can be purchased at Walmart.
20 g Milk - Add milk last - perhaps better to use Whole Milk, slowly add milk by drizzling it in at the top and whisk the milk at the top layer of the batter.
Using spatula, scrape sides and fold gently. Tap the mixing bowl a few times on the countertop to release more air.  Allow to rest for few seconds and tap the bowl on the countertop again.

Panning Brownie Pan
Form walls with Aluminum foil around the cake mold.
    Aluminum cardboard cake mold - I never quite understood the function of the cardboard, other than that back in the old days when the Portuguese arrived in Japan, there are no baking molds and oven and that the solution was to improvise the cake mold out of cardboard? or it creates gentler heat to bake against the batter and creates tender crumbs?  If you want to make the aluminum wrapped cardboard walls, create 4 sides with cardboard measuring 23 x 15 cm and about 5 mm thick.
*6/10/2020 - I am not sure how reliable the information is, but I found out that cardboard molds pass the heat slowly and helps retain moisture during baking - definitely a good reason to try the method rather than adding vege oil, etc.
I need to do some more research or actually test it out (again - I did it once and the cake did not turn out).
    I did not use lined cardboard for this baking.  I lined my brownie pan with buttered unbleached organic parchment paper.  Wrapped the brownie pan with aluminum wall.
    Noticed the ingredients that there is no "fat", except for the maybe using Whole Milk or milk with higher fat content.   The recipe resembles basic sponge cake.  I wonder Heavy Cream would work?  or Low Fat Milk and add 60 g vege oil

Preheat Oven to 160'C.

Pour batter into lined brownie pan very slowly to allow air bubble to release before hitting the cake mold.  It is supposed to prevent large air holes to form during the baking to give a finer look like a pound cake. 
Tap pan down on the countertop a couple of times to release trapped air.

Bake 35 min. - Bake in bottom of oven till beautifully browned and make light crepe paper sound when slightly pressed at the top.
Remove from the oven.
Remove cardboard and outer pan.
Holding the cake mold, drop it on a double towel covered counter top or if you have a foam pad, from 30 cm high a couple of times.  This will cause the cake to sunk down slightly at the same time forming wrinkle. 
Invert the pan onto a lined sheet pan.
This will cause the cake to smoothen the top - 30 sec. 
Re-invert the cake back onto another lined sheet pan.
Let it cool completely.
Store any left over in an air tight container.