Archive for the ‘homemade’ Category

Biggie Ate Sardines Too

April 9, 2008

Born sinner, the opposite of a winner
Remember when I used to eat sardines for dinner
Juicy, Notorious B.I.G.

Canned fish is really bizarre concept and I understand how people are weirded out by it. But seriously, I have an obsession with it. It tastes good, it’s good FOR you, and it’s so cheap.

Vinka, who works in our finance department always brings this awesome can of sardines that she opens during lunch to add to her salads and what-nots. I was always curious cause I never branched out into the world of canned sardines, and I would always ask her about it. The other week she brought one in for me! Yes, everyone at work supports my eating habits.

It’s packed in vegetable oil, and is from the Adriatic Sea, said the label.

So here’s what I did- I broiled asparagus, boiled potatoes, made a dressing of the fish oil left in the can with mustard and balsamic vinegar, sprinkled parsley, green onions, ground pepper and fleur de sel on top. Et voile! You got yourself a fast, vitamin-packed, cheap-o after work dinner, with enough left over for lunch the next day. Genius.

A boiled egg would have also been good, as would have some sliced red onions for color.

For an added crunch, I’m pretty into these fried onion pieces from Trader Joe’s.

Thank you Vinka for introducing me to the world of canned sardines!

In the words of Biggie, “It’s all good, baby bay-bee!”

Monday Night Feast

April 8, 2008

Monday is not a good day as you know. After a weekend full of fun and relaxation, you have to bring your mind to work-mode, which sucks. Annoying boss, stupid colleagues, toilet-paper-missing-toilets, too much construction noise, pressing reply-to-alls when you are bitching about the sender. Nothing works on Mondays.

Because of that, it is more important to have a delicious meal on Monday nights. Who cares about Monday night football (is this the season? Gay People don’t know anything about football). We should all cook a nice meal on Monday nights.

Last night, I was craving for mussels that I love at Markt, but didn’t feel like going to the restaurant. Also we are trying to eat healthier, hence no carb was the theme of last night. I am totally ballooning and need to cut food/booze intake in order to have a decent shape before bathing suit season starts… Alas… How can I lose weight while not cutting food or booze nor working out? Breaking up definitely is the way to go, but I am happily in a relationship…

Anyhow, my favorite mussels recipe at Markt is tomato and basil. I cooked up onion and garlic in olive oil, dump tomato and basil then added half a bottle of white wine.
I got these beautiful mussels at Lobster House in Chelsea Market, which is always a reliable fish monger. $3.25 a pound is also a sweet deal. Once I cooked up vegetables, the smell was so sweet and wonderful, I forgot to take pictures from here on. Hence all i have here is shells…. It’s kind of cute, and almost look like a dish, doesn’t it?

I was requested to make a scallop dish. My colleague Tomoko told me she had this wonderful scallop wrapped in seaweed in France. Japanese food ingredients’ power is so great that even french chefs use nori nowadays!
I didn’t have any recipe, other than the way Tomoko described how it was done. So I wrapped seaweed around a beautiful scallop, sprinkled with sea salt, put a dab of butter, then broiled it for 3 minutes.

I thought I needed some sauce, so I cooked down soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar and ginger and squeezed some lime juice at the end to make south asian style teriyaki sauce. Seaweed was crisp when it was done, and scallops were medium rare, almost melting in my mouth. Yum yum. It kind of looks like sushi, too.

After I saw Kayoko’s post on blood oranges, I was thinking about using it for something as well. So I made mesculin salad, with juice from blood orange, champagne vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and oilve oil, then arranged orange on top. It was very springy and good.

Healthy diet costs too much money, though. Not that I need to cook scallops and mussels everyday, carb is so much more filling and cheap… I already had a rebound, had donburi and udon for lunch at Seo today….

Indonesian Yellow Rice Combo

April 2, 2008

We recently had a very happy family gathering, Tessar took a break and came home last week, my daughter also returned from Rochester for the Easter weekend. During the get together, we invited some very close friends over for dinner on March 22.

Instead of cooking Chinese (which would have caused me a lot of work and too much time to prepare the dishes), I chose to prepare the Indonesian Yellow Rice combo dish. It’s a traditional Indonesian cuisine appeared on any kind of celebration occasions.

I would briefly breakdown the combo ingredients as follows:

1. The yellow rice was cooked with coconut milk, lemon grass stick, indonesian bay leaf (salam), lime leaf, with adequate turmeric powder (to make the yellowish look) and salt to taste.

2. The combo dish was completed with:

  • Indonesian beef stew (the dark brown color one), that was my husband, Antonius’ contribution, he is very good at it (it took him a long time to cut the meat, stirred over in the pot etc. :). Materials are: beef shank (cut into pieces), indonesian bay leaf (salam), grinded garlic, shallot, candle nut, chilly, and of course, coconut milk.
  • Fried mini potato cake (round shaped, with a bit of ground meat inside).
  • Fried mini corn cake (corn pieces battered with eggs, deep fried)
  • Chopped fried tofu mixed with shrimp, sauteed with the Indonesian spice.
  • Fried pee wee eggs (hard boiled first), mixed/covered with spicy sauce (tomato chunk,chilly, garlic and shallot)
  • Shredded fried eggs
  • Cucumber pieces to garnish

Each of the above were displayed on top of the yellow rice, made a nice decoration. The base to accommodate the rice is the banana leaf, also is used traditionally to add more aroma to the whole dish.

Happy eating whenever you can,

Editor’s Note: Jennie is Tessar’s mom- remember when I raided his fridge? She is awesome and sent me this delicious recipe and pictures above. Drool. If you have anything you’d like to share with other UM readers, I will post under the contributor name “UM Guest”, so please feel free to email me at

Roasting for Jesus

March 24, 2008

Jesus is just alright with me
Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
– Doobie Brothers

Religiously speaking, I am godless. I am a gluttonous heathen, afterall. If hard pressed, I suppose I would say I’m a non-practicing Buddhist, but that’s only because my dad makes me pray to his little shrine whenever I go to his house. But I refuse to chant during yoga- it annoys the hell out of me (they never tell you what you’re saying, or what exactly it’s for. It’s just nonsense).

However, deep down, I have a soft spot for all things Roman Catholic. Majestic cathedrals, Pope Jean-Paul II (I saw him once!), the Spanish Inquisition, Dante’s Inferno and Jesus all fascinate me to no end. It’s so bizarre- and I feel bad cause Catholicism has traumatized many of my friends.

So of course I was excited about celebrating the Jesus resurrection on Sunday. Easter means ham, hard boiled eggs, and springtime. Gotta love it. But my plans derailed when Troy and Kumiko called to cancel Easter dinner because they were sick. I sorta panicked, but Fumiko said she would come over, so I cooked dinner for the two of us. Those in disgruntled relationships, ponder this: being single means possibly eating Easter dinner ALONE. It’s a crapshoot.

I didn’t have any big meat item, but I did my usual vegetable roasting. I love roasting vegetables- not only because they taste so good, but mostly because I am lazy, and it’s the easiest thing ever. Here are my ingredients:

Right next to the garlic is a little stick of chorizo. They sell it at Blue Apron in Park Slope for $1.50!!! What a steal! It’s great cause it will hold in the fridge forever, and it’s something different from the same old bacon.

I am relatively new to the cauliflower phenomenon- Aya introduced me to it a few months ago. I’m pretty hooked though. For this, I just chopped up the cauliflower, the zucchini, the chorizo, a few cloves of garlic and peeled the red onions. Preheat oven to 400.

Disclaimer: it took me FOREVER to peel these little fuckers, which is not fun for lazy people. I will use shallots next time.
Put everything in a baking pan, drizzle olive oil all over it, add some salt, grind some pepper. I also added a few bay leaves, cause I had some. I love all the colors here:
Stir occasionally, and take out after about 30 minutes. That’s it!!!
Shave a ton of romano over it, then mix it around.
I obviously needed something else with the meal, so I just made some pasta. I sauteed an onion with a fresh sausage, and boiled fresh pasta that I randomly had in the fridge.

Put some tomato sauce with all of that, et voila! Also, fresh parsley is so necessary.
Here is our meal- Jesus Resurrection 2008. Sadly, the corner wine store was closed, so we couldn’t consume the blood of Christ. Fumiko said we drink the blood all the time, so it was no big deal- we just settled for beer. Would that be Jesus pee? OMG I’m totally going to hell.

PS- the chorizo adds a nice crunch to the soft vegetables. Fumi liked it. Give it a whirl.

Inari, Four Ways

February 27, 2008

Inari sushi is one of those things that I always want to order even though it always tastes kind of bland. I do like bland food though. I’ve had inari covered with spicy tuna before which was pretty delish. I made my own version.

I don’t really like plain white rice. Actually I do but I have pounds of different grains at home that I need to use. I used black (or purple??) rice, white and brown. I made some sushi seasoning and also used one of those ready-to-use seasoned packets of lotus root/carrot from the Japanese grocery. I just added in extra (spicy but totally not) bamboo, peas, scallions and some chopped shiso. I usually saute some onion but I didn’t have any (and also there was a gas leak in my building but TMI).

I just topped these with some ume/shiso furikake (rice topping). It definitely tasted better than just a plain inari but not totally mind blowing.

I keep jarred salmon flakes/eggs around if I want to eat ochazuke in the morning. Is that gross?

Okay obviously this was the best. Ikura. When do those globules of orange fishiness not taste good? I just want to eat a bowl of it, like cereal.

Last one was just covered with chopped shiso. That was the best along with ikura. Do you love my plates? They look like they are from Ikea but are supposedly “concept” appetizer plates that you arrange differently according to the number you use. Which sounds so Ikea to me. So here is a meal you can make without a range, supposing you have a rice cooker.

This was totally Sandra Lee for Japanese food.

For the Love of Mushrooms

February 3, 2008

It’s snowing. And it’s going to snow all through the night. It’ll snow through the show I’ll be playing tonight in Asagaya. So I’m staying in until then.

On my stroll back home this morning from Hatagaya, I stopped by the supermarket with a strong urge to make me up a hot bowl of soba.

I bought raw soba noodles, dashi stock and decided to have a mushroom festival. The great thing about mushrooms in Japan is that there is quite a selection, ranging from cheap to super expensive. Today I opted for the cheap end of the spectrum. So I bought enoki and nama-nameko. Enoki has entered the American-English culinary vernacular in the past few years – I’ve seen them on menus in California and catch glimpses of it on the Food Network.

These thin guys with small caps are great butter-sauteed, boiled, steamed, you name it. They’ve got an uber-satisfying texture, chewy with just the right slipperiness. And they are cheap as hell. One 100 gram package is 150yen (a little over 1USD). I decided to grab my other favorite – nameko. Its beautiful mustard yellow color screams fall coziness and it’s slimness is perfect in soups and sautes. Another steal for 120yen per 100 grams.

I get home, thaw my toes and make my noodles (erm, with hands washed in between there somewhere). Boil noodles, heat up the dashi, throw the mushrooms in, and then the noodles, mix it up and top it off with some green onions. Oh yeah, and the kamaboko my grandma gave me from her trip to Hakone was a perfect addition. Rawk.

The ingredients (sans kamaboko from Baba-chan):

Mangiamo 2007: Spanish Home Cooking

November 4, 2007