Saturday, July 11, 2020

Homemade UMEBOSHI Photo Journal

There are so many varieties of UMEBOSHI in asian grocery store to choose from.  The ultimate winner that find its way into my home is the one that meets my expectation.  Less salt, no heavy corn syrup, no preservatives and no artificial color.  It's challenging to find them.  This year, my family gave me some Japanese UME / Plum.  I didn't work with it right away, so it became a bit ripe to make UME wine.  The alternative is to try making UMEBOSHI.  I used coarse sea salt, but a finer salt give a better result.
I am not too sure about using the plastic container either, but it says to press down on the plum after sprinkling salt for a few days.
The coarse sea salt took too long to liquify to ferment UME.
Transfer them onto dry tray.  Keep the liquid and container intact.  They will be used again for 3 days.  Dry them out in the sun.
I used a net cover to keep bugs away.
Because the sun is so much hotter in Sacramento than in San Jose area, the salt crystallized on the surface much faster. 
At night, take it back in and put back in the same container.  Repeat the drying process 2 more times.
Because the sun is way too hot in Sacramento at 100'F, I only did the drying process 2 times.
Sanitize mason jars.
Gather and clean SHISO leaves.  Place them in the jar.  I added a little bit of ground Sumac.
Cap the jars and store in refrigerator for a couple of weeks.  It's read when SHISO leaves are shriveled.

Polly's Testing of KARA-AGE Chicken

After watching Japanese TV series "Midnight Diner" on the NetFlix, I thought I would try making the KARA-AGE Chicken.  Never thought, it is so simple and so delicious.  When it comes to preparing chickens, it's a major operation for me.  Sanitizing the kitchen sink and the counter.  Double precaution while cutting up the whole chicken that nothing in the surroundings get contaminated.  Kind of phobic about it.  Nonetheless, ingredients are any chicken cuts of your preferences, Japanese KATAKURIKO - Potato Starch, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper and frying oil, frying pot.  Sprinkle ginger, garlic, salt and pepper on chicken pieces.  Add potato starch.  Marinate for 30 min.
Deep fry at 180'C .  Deep fry -  twice to get crunchy shell - until golden.

Serve with Salad or saute'd chopped onions, celery and bell pepper with mixture of soy sauce and a bit of sugar.

Spiced Up Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cranberries

Daily telework needed some spiced up taste to awaken my senses after long hours of staring at the computer screen.  I finally concocted a batch of cookies that resulted in the chewiness that I have been looking for in my cookies.  The last three or four testings during the COVID-19 stay home baking did not turn out quite good.  The recipe was from here and there all claiming to be Chewy.  But almost all of them turned out to be cakey.  You can't blame it on other people's recipe.  After all, it's not my first time trying to bake cookies.  
So the ingredients are simple. 
1 stick room temp unsalted butter
1 C Brown Sugar
1/4 C organic Cane Sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg, well beaten in a small bowl.  Set Aside.
1 tsp home make vanilla extract
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Chili Pepper Flakes
1-3/4 C flour + 1/2 tsp Baking Powder = shifted
1/2 C chopped cranberries or anything you like
3/4 C semi-sweet European chocolate pistoles chopped
1/4 C Milk European chocolate pistoles chopped
Baked in 350'F gas oven for 12 min or there is a sign of browning around the edge.

Cream butter in a bowl.
Add brown sugar, cane sugar, salt, vanilla extract, cayenne pepper, chili flakes and mix well.
Chop cranberries and chocolate.  Add to the butter mixture and mix well.
Add shifted flour. and mix well.
Preheat oven to 350'F.
Scoop the dough with 1" cookie scoop, if you have one. Space 2 inches apart.
Bake till edges are slightly browned - about 13 to 14 min.
Very nice chewy result that I really like.  The cayenne and chili flakes snap you out of your telework mode. 
With the 2nd batch, I added 1 extra egg.  But it did not give the shiny brownie top effect and make the cookie a bit more spongy.
Should have stayed with 1 egg.  The left with 2 eggs; the right with 1 egg.