You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘japanese’ tag.

Mmm… it’s one of those mornings I grab a sweater and a coffee and just start working on stuff, in this case blogging.  To me that’s so evocative of autumn, which has begun to be noticed in the air.  I’m supposed to be selling postcards at an outdoor craft show/sidewalk sale today and the sky is a dark dark grey, with a snappy chill and a risk of rain… So I’m enjoying the indoor lamplight while I can, and getting the most out of every second I can hang out in my plushy pajama pants.  (pajama pants being the best invention ever, probably).
It seems appropriate to blog about the last of the summer meals, in this case.  Cold refreshing food I might not be as interested in in just a few days… zarusoba being an iconic example.  Despite owning a package of soba noodles the size of my head, I only just recently made up the appropriate dipping sauce to go with it so I could eat it summer style, cold with nori shavings on top.  If it’s still warm where you are, I recommend it so much!  And I insist that you slurp it, sucking up air in a perfect satisfying hoover as you eat, because it really does improve the flavour about 50% – I think it has to do with almost smelling it as you eat.
Perfect technique, so demure, and yet loads of delicious delicious air in every bite!  Now I kinda want fat soft udon, yumm……

This is a vegetable curry Pomme and I made using a lot of inspiration from this book, a seafood curry to be exact.  So it was a mix of turmeric, basil, mint, cayenne, paprika, pepper and lemon, which I thought was really novel (and very delicious).  Eaten with wheat berries for carbohydrates (defrosted from the freezer because you can do that), and a cucumber salad I made with chunks of ruby red cactus pear.  The seeds of cactus pears are hard like little BBs, but the melon taste and beautiful colour is worth it, like a poor man’s watermelon maybe.
Of those occasional small-batch cookies I make sometimes after meal, these mint chocolate brownie bites were knee-meltingly good!!  I wish I’d written things down, but there’s ground almonds in there, plus vanilla, mint, pockets of chocolate chips, and the texture was like 2-bite brownies, amazing.  Biting into them was a world-stopping experience, which probably means I added enough cocoa powder to the mix. ;P
Sometimes hash, just straight up hash is perfect.  Smoky sausages, in season tomatoes, little baby basil leaves, and enough salt and pepper to tie it together = wish I had more sausages so I could make this for lunch right now!
Finally, I’d had a tomato tart on the brain all summer.  Every week went by and I wondered when I would do it, if I would remember, if all the ambrosial blushing tomatoes would disappear from the markets en masse before I got the chance to make that pie.  But I did remember!  Luck would have it that I came upon a huge package of gorgeous organic tomatoes for a steal, and I hopped on the chance to bake them oh-so briefly in hardly more than their own juices.

I used a cornmeal pizza crust recipe from here, replaced most of the cornmeal with masa harina, spread the bottom with grainy mustard, thyme leaves, and drizzled it with olive oil before baking.  
And while I folded up the edges to make it more like a tart, I quickly found out that hand-to-mouth was the ideal method of eating this – it was a pizza at heart, and a robust and juicy one, too.  I still can’t think of any way I’d rather eat tomatoes right now!

Oh right!  That wasn’t the last thing, this is ^  Celine’s peanut butter granola!  oooooooooooh!
I replaced the PB with a Peanut-hazelnut blend, used hazelnut oil instead of canola, and left out the chocolate and it’s absolutely fantastic.  I hardly need to rave about how it melts away on the tongue and is just kissed with sweet and is full of toasty flax and is easy to make… because most of you have made this I’m sure, or at least if you haven’t you should and you can have a batch of oven-fresh granola in less time than it takes to run out and buy some.  
Kind of makes me wish I had some milk or yogurt around ever, but a jar of this in the fridge will disappear from nibbling fingers soon enough anyway, I assure you. ;)
Next post: an adventure in ninja-vegan waffle cones!
Advertisements

My room-mate’s birthday came up unexpectedly!  I had to innovate… it helped that I could peek into her side of the pantry and note the favoured ingredients… and remember that she has a yen for spicy food and japanese (similar taste much!)

I essentially made her the cake I secretly hoped someone would make for me someday (but shh, it works here, too).

I made a half recipe of a cake I found online here, sliced it into 4 rectangles and sandwiched them with a full recipe of the Vegan Cupcakes take over the World chocolate mousse recipe, but with a bunch of wasabi and ginger added, yes!

Top it with some pretty kiwis and champagne grapes and white pearls and call it an ideal job.  Just about exactly what I was aiming for – it’s elegant and spicy and rich.  If I did it again I might add some cashew cream layers, or some strawberry jam, but really it’s perfect just the way it is right here.  Roomie even professed to get a wasabi high off the mousse!  Ha ha, couldn’t ask for more.

Black Sesame Cake

(from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert (veganized), via Dessert First)

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup soy yogurt

3 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup canola oil*

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup soymilk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup toasted black sesame seeds

– Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a cake tin and dust flour inside it.  Set aside.

– Add the vinegar to the soymilk and set aside to curdle.

– Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  

– In a large bowl, beat together the soygurt, sesame oil, vanilla, canola oil, and sugar until it’s smooth and caramell-y, about 2-3 minutes with a whisk.

– Add 1/3 of the flour to the liquid ingredients and stir to combine.  Add half the curdled soymilk and stir.  Add another 1/3 of the flour (stir), then the rest of the milk (stir), then the last of the flour (stir).  Make sure not to overwork the batter, but it should be smooth and pourable.

– Pour into the greased cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is glossy, firm and golden, and a toothpick/knife inserted comes out clean.  Let it cool for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack, then let it cool completely before frosting.

* the original recipe called for butter, and you would probably get spectacular results with Earth Balance, I just didn’t have enough this time.  Follow the recipe the same, but cream the margarine with the sugar with an electric mixer until it’s really white and fluffy, before adding the other liquid ingredients.


Wasabi Ginger Chocolate Mousse

(adapted from Vegan Cupcakes take over the World)

12 oz. package of medium firm tofu, drained

1/4 cup soy milk

2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

1 tbsp wasabi paste (or more ;)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ginger powder

8 oz. chocolate chips (or higher quality chocolate if you’d like)

pinch of salt

– Bring a pot of water to a boil, then gently add your tofu, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 4-5 minutes.  Drain carefully and let it cool.

– Once cooled, put the tofu, syrup, wasabi, vanilla and ginger in a blender and blend it until it’s completely smooth.

– Melt the chocolate carefully in the microwave then add it to the blender and whip everything together.  Add salt if you like salt (I do), then stash it in the fridge for at least an hour to become firm enough to work with.  Ice your cake!

Well, Liz has broken out the nerdy google-searched JPEGS of sci-fi references again – and that means of course that it’s time to go back in time!   Woooo-eeeee-oooooooooh.

Back to a time way yonder… the wee beginning of August when I was just as likely to accidentally eat a blob of quinacridone pink as I was to absent-mindedly get soy sauce on my paintings.  Ie; (in simple terms) I was busy!  Meals had to be almost cute in their ease of preparation, with the notable exception of some bento experiments, but I’ll get to those later on….
Avocado kinda saved my life, the patron saint of summer classes, I think.  And while these look humble, and I’m a pure sucker for anything wrapped in a warm corn tortilla (and I mean just about anything) – this was a good and special combo.  Guacamole, corn, & chicken-baked white beans, with big chunks of onion ’cause I roll like that but you could leave them off I’m sure.  Addictive but satisfying.

And then avocado with fritterFAIL (it’s now hash!)

Even better than the tacos?  It has sweet potato this time.

I got a huge bag of white pitas for free because there was a big nasty fly paper stuck to the side and the store couldn’t sell it, so I tasted white flatbread for the first time in forever.  Can I confess that it’s kind of particularly delicious?  At least if you haven’t had it in a while.  Way sweeter than whole wheat, and makes excellent sausage, pepper and onion pizzas.  With big chunks of onion.  Because I roll like that!

Believe it or not, dorayaki are a quick lunch, too!  You just have to really cheat with the anko paste.  And cheater anko paste can be way healthier, too, because you can pull the sugar WAY back.  Basically just mash up some hot cooked adzukis with just enough sugar to make them lip-smacking, and just enough salt to make them more-ish, then make two fairly rich pancakes to sandwich it with.  And put loads of vegetables on the side so you can pretend it’s a sort of balanced meal.  (which okay it probably is, just sucrose heavy.   MMMMMM sucrose.  MMMM dorayaki).

MMMMM CHOCOLATE PANCAKES DORAYAKI   

I am feeling the Japanese, can you tell?  This lunch took forever.  Like, all morning to make, no joke.  Worth it in every way, though!  My first onigiri, everybody, and let nobody tell you that it’s just rice in a ball shape, it is so much more than that.  Even if you’ve made them yourself, they still taste all full of the love it took to construct them (the reddened burned hands, the totally occupied stovetop, the swearing at nori seaweed as it refuses to cover them completely). 
The first day I made 3 –
1 triangle filled with avocado (yes again!), tiny cubed cucumber, wasabi, green onion and salt.
The 2nd triangle was filled with tiny cubes of braised sweet potato and shitake mushrooms done in kombu no tsukudani style except without sugar ’cause they’re sweet already.  (SO umami)
And the 3rd piece was mixed up with red beans, sesame seeds and umeboshi vinegar.   yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum !

(rounding out my oh-so stylish tupperware is some lightly steamed broccoli sprinkled with shoyu, an Nin Jiom herbal candy, a strawberry lollipop, and some yellow baby carrot pickles I made myself and have been eating like candy from the back of the fridge.).  
It was a terrible blustery sweater-weather day when I took this downtown to eat it before putting in a long night at the studio, but after I got my green tea and an interesting seat to watch people from, and I took the first bite of my first pointy rice-ball…. I couldn’t help but smile like a tyke.  Really!  It’s all worth the effort for that first nori-wrapped bite.

oh yeah, Mr. Wasp thinks rice balls are delicious too.  I have mixed feelings about this one.  Shooo off my meticulous lunch there, little guy, sheesh!

Back on the fast track – the quickest cookies to make are shortbreads, of course.  And an herbal-loving friend had a recent crisis requiring me to spend at least a bit of time baking.  Basic basic shortbread, but with rose oil and black tea leaves.  The tea didn’t impart any flavour I don’t think, but it added a really pleasant crispy texture!

And finally, my favourite – muffins!  Featuring (do you see this coming?)…. avocado!  Yep, avocado replacing almost all the oil, date syrup replacing all the sugar, 50/50 whole wheat & oat flour, with orange juice, cloves, and a scattering of chocolate chips to seal up the deal.  100% eyeballed recipe, but it’s really hard to screw up a muffin, which is why I secretly adore them more than cake maybe.   These ones were surprisingly decadent with their buttery nuggets of green dotted throughout.  Totally a win.

And then I finished my last studio class ever!  Hurray!  
No more turpentine, no more (mounting) hooks, no more security guards’ dirty looks, la la la la la  :)

Summertime and some are slacking!  That is to say — oh oh I’m sorry I dropped off the face of the blog-Earth!  I’ve been pretty busy, writing papers, painting spiders and lettuce leaves, taking t’ai chi, dating someone (yey), still cooking up a storm, and just not really feeling like there’s been a good time to blog about it.  But really, it’s getting ridiculous… I’ve lost count of how many photos I have.  Stacks.  And they’re getting outdated, I’m forgetting if I used olives or capers in these stuffed tofus for example… at any rate I used Kittee’s Method of the Stars to stuff them full of olive-oily spinach, red peppers, and raisins (I think).  Other good things, then breaded them in cornflakes, baked, and ate most of them all chewy-cold out of the fridge – like moment’s notice hunger-killers, basically.
Sushi!  But with black rice this time, which is really more of a purple, and taste-wise isn’t quite sushi bliss… but it sure is pretty.  I kinda feel like this is sushi with a silk tie on, or something.

And speaking of oceanic treats, my sister and I discovered some fantastic package of salty fried nori in her cupboards.  This stuff is gooooood.  For my money, beats the pants off of potato chips.

Sis thinks so too!

Then for a while I was all in love with med-firm tofu and it’s magical ability to become some luxurious (yet low guilt) salad dressing at a moment’s notice.  I played around with a few varieties – I tried the Vegan World Fusion Caesar (yum!), I made a kind of ranch, and my favourite was a curried apricot dressing that was very inspired by something from the Millenium cookbook, although I changed it entirely…  I even found the notepad file I wrote the recipe on!  So here it is —-

1/4 lb. med-firm tofu

1-2 dried apricots, soaked well and chopped

1 tsp rice vinegar

1/2 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp garam masala

1/8 tsp cardamom

pinch of cayenne

1 tsp almond butter

1 tsp canola oil

enough water to thin

Blend!  Blend like yo salad depends on it!  
My favourite part of tofu dressings is putting on so much that you can eat the extra at the bottom with a spoon. :)
Isa’s perfect chocolate chip cookies are, by the way, and if you hadn’t heard – perfect.  Utterly perfect.  Me and this cookie had a bit of a moment… time stopped outside my window, cars drove softly past and I felt like all the sweet chewy vanill-y mass was just going straight into my heart (forget stomachs).  Good times.  Oh!  And this is only from batch number two.  I made them before, maybe not creaming quite enough so they spread a bit, but obviously still amazing enough to convince me to try again.

Not having ever tried a Madhur Jaffrey recipe I figured I would give it a go, finally.  Her dhal intrigued me in how it has a whole lemon sliced right into it, and it really works!  Totally makes it a different sort of creature than your regular lentil-mash.  I ate it up with — oh oh oh oh!!  guess what!!!  I got a food processor!  Or at least, an attachment for my new stick blender that my mom got me (love moms!).  I turned veggies into confetti in like, 10 seconds, wow.  Anyway, yeah, I stuffed said veggies (sauted with garlic, mustard seeds, cider vinegar, bit of braggs, maybe a bit of tahini? possibly caraway seeds, too) into a paratha, and then ate the mountain of leftovers too, because it was pretty delicious stuff.  

I also think I’m finally getting the hang of cakes.  Getting the right ratio of textures, flavours, sizes, richnesses, bursts of things, etc.  This was so well-balanced, one of my favourites in recent memory!  It’s a chocolate mint cake with minty vanilla buttercream sandwiched between, whipped ganache on top, and loads of little violets, to celebrate spring or some such twee sentiment that surprised me in actually tasting good as well as looking way pretty.  I ended up dipping the extra violet stems in the leftover ganache!  And the cake… was this joyous kind of refreshing melt-in-your-mouth confection that I had (Mwahahaha!) MOSTLY to myself.  Usually I’m the one giving away desserts too soon, but this one was totally mine.  Yum!

*ackdroolzzz*  don’t you wish there was taste-o-vision?

This is just the shot of the leftovers – stuff put into tupperware doesn’t win any beauty points.  But the point of this lunch was that it was a bento-ish kind of meal that randomly came together after I poo-pooed the idea of a peanut butter sandwich and started to boil potatoes.  Which I never do, and made me feel festive enough to remember the wasabi tube I had in the fridge, thus wasabi mashed potatoes.  So obviously then I had to try those panko & daikon stuffed mushrooms from the Veganomicon.  Except… I didn’t feel like firing up the oven for 6 mushrooms so I made them raw and used bulgur wheat instead of bread crumbs, and added some sweet peppers and Sambal Olek for fun.  

Clearly the asian tofu from Vcon was the third logical step!  Grill pans are great stuff.
It was special because I was taking it to an all-day drawing performance with rather zen-like properties, so it felt very appropriate (albeit not-even-slightly-traditional) to have a cute little themed lunch like this.

I even had one matcha & goji berry scone leftover from the night before!  Double cute.  Not to mention how it looks amazingly like an anatomical heart, which I only noticed after I uploaded the photo!
See?  Awwww.


Wooooaaahhh !!!  I just lucked out, it’s the sale of the century and I had enough toonies in my pocket to come home with the goooooold!  I don’t know why they were selling all these fantastic teas for $1 a box (haunted? peed on by raccoons?  somehow decades old?) but I’m going back tomorrow regardless, because apparently they have MORE. *faints*

(clockwise from center)
japanese flower mushroom tea
mint with chrysanthemum and honeysuckle
60 spirulina capsules !!!!!!

organic ceylon lemon
relasin (for nerves, insomnia and eyesight, perfect!)
yunnan tuocha green (for digestion and… hee hee, lowering cholesterol)
soolim (didn’t realize it was one of those slimming teas, oh well)
organic meadowsweet with devil’s claw
I’m drinking the mushroom tea right now and it’s so awesome.  I would never ever ever serve it to company, ever, but it’s deeply awesome and strange and OMG probably amazing with pizza !! 

Happy new year everyone! Did you get kissed last night? I got a hug! :)

Maybe it was due to eating those lucky black eyed peas everyone goes on about. I’ve got no problem with an excuse to them, though, being all mushy and sweet and darned adorable with that little black spot. I found out later that the collards they’re traditionally eaten with in the south symbolize paper money, so I missed out on that part, but do you see those basil leaves? Looks leafy and green to me! I even ate this all on lettuce, I’m probably set on the symbolic moolah front. Oh, and the beans themselves were a vegan version of Jukut Murab – a Balinese salad with coconut, tamarind, chile and lime and very very delicious – it’s going into bean salad rotation and will definitely be gracing the table of a potluck sometime in the future. It’s exotic and wonderful on the tongue and easy and healthy and cheap = win!

And speaking of inconceivably delicious food being actually very healthy – stuffed zucchini globes, Isa-style definitely qualify. How had I not made these yet? The millet here is basically a delivery device for tomato-y, olive-y, caper-y superflavour, which doesn’t get any further up my alley. I ate the leftover millet rolled up in steamed red cabbage with a squish of lemon, which forgive me, may have been even tastier than the squash, and um… I even put this stuff on crackers. Recommended!

Oh Extraveganza, shall you be in all my posts and will I never mind? Yes. :)
Especially when you offer recipes like pear and cardamom pudding, zomg. I doubled the cardamom and I shouldn’t have done that, because it became somewhat impossible to NOT have perfumed vanilla sweetness for dinner two night in a row. I am considering making more…

Finally, eek, I made saucy asian takeout style food! I can see why people do this now… It’s kind of a Gyudon (japanese beef and rice bowl) made with eggplant, as per Vegan Ronin‘s excellent adaptation, and somewhere between adding a splash of requisite sriracha and licking my bowl clean this was dreamy good eating. Even the rice happened to be purple in aubergine agreement! Goodness, I think now I’m gonna have to make General Tao’s tofu and cross that dish off my lifetime list now that I’m all hooked on sweet thickened sauces. YUM!

Bonus picture >>>>>>>>>>>>>
My favourite salad these days involves green apple and crushed up organic Wheat Thins, which was inspired by fatoush, if you can believe it. The crackers are sweeter than the apples, and with a noochy citrus dressing it’s a perfect snack.

(can you believe I got organic crackers at the dollar store? madness! I’m not complaining though)

I always end up making curry on a whim. Without fail I am on my way to make something else, something usually boring and somehow between the fridge and the stovetop it turns into curry in my brain and I’m always thankful for the switch. I can always eat more red lentils… and I got to try out these unreal curry powders my friend J brought me from India when he went this summer. Why have I not used these all over the place before???? They are crazy good, more on them later. They made an acorn squash, red lentil, coconut, pea and green pepper curry absolutely golden. Actually, pistachio coloured. Who says curry is homely? And cardamom raisin quinoa underneath doesn’t hurt in the pretty department, either.

Here are those spices (I couldn’t be happier that there’s massive quantities of both).

The south indian blend has — white pepper, chili, mango powder, dagger fool, clove, ginger, mace, citric acid, concoun, cassia, and akarkhora. Badass.

The garam masala is black cumin, black pepper, bay leaves, piper, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, clove, black cardamom, ginger.

These are seriously aromatic and complex, and for some reason taste different in every curry I add them to. Maybe it’s like that chemical thing where the same perfume smells different on various wrists? Maybe it’s the akarkhora.

Then I made some DAIIIII-FU-KUUUU, yippee! I didn’t realize I was out of red dye for my envisioned green-and-red holiday colours, but I did have a beet, which worked perfectly and the subtle flavour didn’t mess with the beans at all. They are bean paste (anko) filled, which has got to be my favourite stuff ever. I’m still not 100% on the mochi part, I may have found the one food I’m not super crazy for, but they are definitely fun to make. And it was much as Julie in Japan describes: truly they are weird. But I did keep eating it and then later I did really want another one. That strange earlobe jellyness kinda becomes… intriguing? In a way? I must say I can taste the difference in the supple freshness of homemade mochi versus those awful pucks I got over christmas.

Okay, this is actually making my mouth water now, so disregard any blabbing about weirdness. You can also see that I like my anko (I LOVE my anko) chunky, generous in proportion to earlobe-jelly, and only moderately sweet.

J’s (half awake) response was A: “They look like the kind of thing that people eat in cartoons, Liz.” (I nodded). And B: “Hmm… they taste like rice cake.” Which I thought was mighty open-minded for a technicoloured blobby-dessert ambush, and indicative of an awesome generation of eaters. My parents would have certainly gone for the bugspray or something. :)
Yay Daifuku!!

EDIT:
In response to KingoftheFrogs — what I did for the mochi:

The red and the green both had pretty different textures, since I used more water in the green, but they were both good… it takes some playing around I think.

approximately…
1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water + (if needed) 2-3 tablespoons
food colouring (optional)
(1 cup of anko/red bean paste)

* stir the flour, water, sugar and colouring together in a microwave-safe bowl, adding more water so that it’s smooth (but still pretty thick)

* microwave 2 minutes, then stir it like crazy

* microwave until it inflates, stir like crazy and stretch it and wack it with a wooden spoon until it’s smooth and bouncy.

* turn it onto a tray covered with potato starch (or cornstarch) and roll it into a snake, then cut that snake into 12 equal pieces.

* stretch a piece into a disc, thicker in the middle than at the edges, place 1 tablespoon of anko paste in the middle and wrap it up like a parcel, pinching the seam to join the mochi together. Dust with extra cornstarch, and set it aside, repeat with remaining mochi pieces.

note 1: they freeze pretty much perfectly, so uneaten candy can be squirreled away for later.

note 2: anko is soooo easy to make, it’s just red beans cooked with sugar and a touch of salt. Take cooked adzuki beans, add sugar til it’s sweet enough for you, mash with a spoon and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it’s really thick, like cookie dough. Let it cool completely before using.

Archives

KG’s Etsy Shop

Vegan Candy Flickr Pool

Flickr Photos