Padron Peppers

August 2nd, 2010 by moosaur

This is my dog, Moogle. He’s an almost two year old Maltese. He loves food. Possibly more than I do. This picture was taken with the help of some padron peppers (more on those later).

Unlike most dogs, he doesn’t seem to have an aversion to spicy food. He loves curry paste and seems to enjoy scrounging around for chili pepper bits on the floor. However, he’s not a big fan of basil or arugula, but he’ll still sit, beg and chew on whatever you give him — he’s a good sport. He’ll just spit the leaves out when you’re not looking.

In other news, here are some cherry tomatoes from my plants — the orange ones turned out much sweeter than the red ones, though the red ones aren’t bad by any measure. I’m going to try saving seeds from the orange ones, though I suspect everything in my garden is cross pollinated anyway. The flower is from a small flowering bush of some sort I adopted from work.  It’s produced some pretty flowers, but they’ve been full of bugs and spiders (though of course I realized this AFTER picking them and bringing them inside).

And one of the two pounds of padron peppers I purchased from the Ladybug truck. I’ve been eating these quickly fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. So tasty.  I’m going to try to save some of these seeds too.

Now I just have to figure out what to make with the coriander berries I bought…

Backyard gardening

July 30th, 2010 by moosaur

And I’ve neglected this blog… again.

Instead I’ve been busy turning my backyard into a little farm.  I’ve got seven tomato plants, a bunch of squash plants, strawberries, salad greens, Thai chilis, herbs, beans, peas, watermelons (still tiny sprouts, I’m getting suspicious) and shisho.  A few things are planted in the ground, most are in containers — including many recycled containers.

The tomato plants are getting pretty big — one of them is at least as tall as I am.  They’re also laden with green fruit, so we’ll see how long those take to mature (it’s been rather overcast lately, I can’t imagine that helps them). The strawberries are sending out runners and making baby strawberry plants like weeds. If they survive through winter to next spring/summer, I’ll have  a lot of strawberries.

I’m trying to hang beans instead of giving them something to climb on, and so far it seems to be working. I picked a first bunch of green beans last night — they were tasty.  One plant has gotten clever though — it’s growing up the string, so I’ll be rearranging that to hang down soon.

Strawberries!

June 8th, 2010 by moosaur

A few weeks ago, I bought a six-pack of strawberry plants from Target. I transplanted them, watered them and gave them lots of sun. Last week — I finally ate the first fruit! And, they were fantastic. They were concentrated, ridiculously sweet… almost like strawberry candy.

This weekend, I planted eight more strawberry plants (I want moar!) and I’ve put five of those into a homemade hanging planter (made from an Odwalla orange juice jug).  The other three still need a permanent home.  I’m hoping this hanging system will prevent the fruit from rotting! (A couple fruit from the first batch of plants were moldy before they were ripe. Sad.)

Pictures to come, my camera needs batteries.

Recyled Yogurt Upside Down Planter

June 3rd, 2010 by moosaur

Yogurt Container + Plant = ThisPerhaps I’m getting carried away with this whole reuse-recycle idea… But in another attempt to grow things in containers, I’ve strung up an empty yogurt container and now have a marigold seedling growing out of the bottom.  I took the picture right after the planting (yesterday).  When I checked on it today, the seedling is starting to grow sideways.

I’ve seen upside down tomato and strawberry planters for sale… But those both seem like heavy plants that my yogurt container, kitchen twine and bike handle (what its hanging off) might not handle so well.  What plants do well upside down? Is an herb garden hanging over my kitchen sink a plausible idea?

Frozen Yogurt

June 1st, 2010 by moosaur

I made* frozen yogurt! It was tasty!

2 cups yogurt (European Strauss Family Creamery, low fat) + 1/4c sugar. Mix together, toss into ice cream maker (Kitchenaid stand mixer attachment in my case) and let it do it’s thing for 15 minutes. Eat with cacao nibs and sliced fruit.

I like my yogurt tart, so I didn’t add much sugar. I’m sure this varies from person to person, but I suspect most people would like more sugar than I included.

Next up is trying out different kinds of yogurt. Most of the recipes I’ve seen have involved Greek yogurt. I just used what I happened to have in the fridge.

*More like I froze the yogurt. I haven’t been courageous enough to make my own yogurt from scratch yet.

Eggplant, Chawan Mushi, Miso Soup

April 24th, 2010 by moosaur

Since the main purpose of this blog is for my own amusement… I figured I should document the things I cook that I’d like to make again. Most of last night’s meal falls into that category.

Eggplant and beef in sauce – Modified the recipe here in an attempt to make something that tastes like those sauces you get out of packets, but from scratch. Success! I used two Chinese eggplant and 1lb of beef. Next time I’d do less beef or more eggplant.

Chawan Mushi – Recipe from here. I’ve really liked this dish since I was a little kid and I’ve finally made it! Mine had some ugly bubbles at the top, but I’m using my ricecooker as a steamer, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a little hotter than it should be.

Miso soup – I did eight cups of water to one 10g packet of dashi. Then 1 tbsp of miso to each cup of dashi. In the future, needs more dashi. Miso to liquid ratio was fine.

Seattle Chocolate Tour

April 24th, 2010 by moosaur

This is long overdue… But better late then never!

While D and I were in Seattle, we made it a point to take a chocolate tour, and after a bit of Googling, she decided on this one.  I don’t really want to write this post as a review — but it was fantastic, our guide was very friendly and the tour was interesting and very tasty.

Stop 1 – The Flatliner at Oliver’s. How better to start the morning than with chocolate, caffeine, alcohol and sugar?

Stop 2 – Coconut cream pie and chocolate crinkles at Dahlia Bakery.  We’d gone to Dahlia with  J for dinner the night before and we weren’t impressed… But the bakery was delicious!

Stop 3 – Carter’s enrobed brownie, chocolate bomb cupcake & chocolate + lemon gelato at The Chocolate Box. Everything was really good, though even in their small servings I was starting to have trouble finishing things. (Picture to the left)

Stop 4 – Cheesecake and drinking chocolate and The Confectional in Pike Place. The cheesecake was divine — light and fluffy but somehow rich at the same time. None of that dense out-of-the-freezer stuff most places serve.  Additionally, instead of a normal crust, it was chocolate wafers broken up to form an interesting layered crust. I’m going to try that one day

Stop 5 – Two kinds of popcorn at Kukuruza Gourmet Popcorn. It’s as interesting as it sounds. Really good popcorn though, none of the crunchy lumps that get stuck in your teeth — 100% fluffy popcorn. (They told us what kind of corn they use, but I don’t remember)

Stop 6 – Truffles at Fran’s Chocolates. Pure dark chocolate truffle, raspberry truffle, gray salt caramel truffle, milk chocolate smoked salt caramel truffle. I had to take these home, there was no way I could take four truffles at this point. I ate them a couple days later and while they were all fantastic, the gray salt and caramel truffle was my favorite.

Auuuugh. If I’m ever in Seattle again, I’m stopping by Dahlia Bakery and the Confectional.  Not to say that the others weren’t good, but I can only handle so much chocolate.

Banana Chocolate Springrolls

April 23rd, 2010 by moosaur

Har! I felt like drawing, so I thought I’d illustrate (more as a note to myself than anything) how to roll spring rolls… Since I’ve been doing it a lot lately, first making lumpia, and last night making banana-chocolate spring rolls.

1. Flip wrapper diagonally, glop on ~2 tablespoons of filling or in this case, half (vertically) of half (horizontally) a banana

2. Optional. Add chocolate! Tiny sprinkle of nutmeg too. Possibly sugar if your banana is lame. I made another roll with silken tofu + chocolate and that one definitely needed its sugar.

3. Fold the bottom up, this should pretty much cover up all the filling.

4. Fold the sides in, the filling should be completely covered up now!

5. Roll the filling up then seal it shut with a little water.

6. Fry! I use an electric stove, and I find myself cranking it up to medium-high.

7. Nom. <3

I’ve got a mind to try some other combination — mango rolls also sound promising. Maybe some poached (and drained) pear?

Using Tofu… in Chocolate Mousse

April 20th, 2010 by moosaur

After throwing away a pack of expired tofu I swore I’d figure out how to cook the stuff… And have it be edible.  I toyed with making tofu scrambles in college, but they always turned out bland, mushy and not very interesting.  Since then, I never quite figured out how to cook tofu.

My Tofu Cooking Failures:

  1. I don’t like firm tofu and silken tofu turns to mush easily
  2. Tofu is pretty bland
  3. Comes in big packages and I can’t eat that much bland tofu at once
  4. Stir-frys are lame (plus they result in tofu-mush)

My remedy for my tofu ineptitude was to ask one of my vegetarian coworkers. I figure that since he eats a lot of tofu, he must know how to cook it.  And ta-da… Since then, I’ve made three things with tofu.

  1. Ma po tofu. I cheated on this one. I used a sauce packet and added silken tofu, ground beef and chopped onions, garlic and chili oil.  Tasty!
  2. Shirataki noodles, tofu & veggies in a chili beef broth.  Homemade beef broth, chili oil, shirataki noodles and silken tofu boiling together in a pot for an hour so that beef-y taste seeps into the noodles and tofu. The veggies go in last minute so they don’t end up as mushy stewed lumps.
  3. Chocolate mousse. Equal parts by weight of silken tofu and melted chocolate blended and cooled in the fridge. It was very dense and chocolatey. Tasty with bananas! I’m going to try to integrate that into a cake or with other fruit.

I have one package of silken tofu left and one package of ‘multi-purpose’ tofu. I’m thinking of a cheesecake for the silken tofu and an eggplant-tofu dish with ‘fragrant sauce’ for the regular tofu.

Crocodile Soup (HK; day 1)

March 28th, 2010 by moosaur

I’m in Hong Kong!

I arrived earlier today, just in time to have dinner with my aunt, uncles and grandmother.  Chinese food at Cuisine Cuisine in IFC.  Nothing fantastic, though there was crocodile soup. It tasted like pork and looked like a bowl of broth, so no pictures. Half of me thinks the restaurant is scamming us, but my grandmother says it tastes like pork no matter where you get it.

Dinner was followed by some shopping then a trip to Wellcome, the supermarket close to our hotel.  They’re open 24/7 and they’re stocked with all sorts of tasty things. The first thing I zoned in on was all the fruit — I bought jackfruit (I’ve been eating it out of a can for the last few months), a mango, macopa (known to the rest of the world as rose apple) & a pack of longquats.  I’ve only eaten the jackfruit so far, and it wasn’t very sweet or tasty — maybe my tongue is jaded by the sweetness of the canned version, or maybe this is what I get for buying pre-cut, shrink wrapped fruit.

I skipped over the rest of the supermarket to the snack section (my favorite part) where I acquired many mysterious things (and passed over many more) –Mobaccho, some matcha flavored snack (tasty little rabbit-poop sized pellets of something crunchy coated in a matcha flavored glaze. Surprisingly, not very sweet.), crunchy dried crabs in some sweetish bbq sauce (bland, imagine crunchy stuff with the sweetish chinese fruit beef jerky flavoring), chesnut chocolate (not yet eaten), egg white cookies (not yet eaten) and black currant jellies (not yet eaten).  Things I didn’t buy (but will get next time) included ‘premium’ Pringles (in an assortment of flavors, including Thai chili), salmon sashimi chips and red bean chocolate.  I’m going to be fat, broke & full of sugar soon… but happy.