Thursday, April 22, 2010

Death by Chocolate

Sour Cream Brownies

Adapted from Piece of Cake Blog

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons premium cocoa powder (I love Valrhona)
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces (chocolate chips work fine, I like Ghiradelli)
1 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup dry cranberries

Set an oven rack to the center position and preheat the to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with foil, and spray with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Allow it to bubble for about 10 seconds, then remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute or two, and then whisk until smooth. Let cool for a minute while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in the sour cream, salt and vanilla until well-blended. Stir in the chocolate and butter mixture, then fold in the flour and cocoa mixture just until it dissappears into the batter. Add dry cherries and mix.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the until the brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 30 minutes.

Cool the brownies completely in the pan on a rack before cutting into squares.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tofu and Wakame Miso Soup

Gohan described in previous post i served with warming bawl of Miso Soup.

Ingredients (serves 2):
1/2 cake of silken tofu (i used cutlet, hence had some left from gohan)
20 g. wakame seaweed, reconstituted
2 cups Dashi stock
2-3 Tbsp red miso

1. Cut the tofu and wakame into bite-sized pieces.
2. Pour the stock into pan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Add the tofu and wakame and remove from  the heat before coming to the boil. Add the miso into the soup gradually while softening with some stock and dissolving on a ladle.
Serve in individual bawls.

Mixed Rice ("Takikomi-Gohan")

Healthy and tasty rice dish with many ingredients. Everyone will love it!

1 cup japanese rice
1/2 cup pearl barely
1 packet of shimeji mushrooms (large)
2 inch long carrot
1/4 tofu cutlet

For soup:
4/5 cups dashi stock or water
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp sake
1 Tbsp Mirin
1 1/2 tsp light soy sauce or 4/5 tsp dark soy sauce  
1/2 tsp salt

1. Wash rice and barely 30 min prior to cooking and drain on colander.
2. Cut carrots into julienne strips. Wash and drain mushrooms. Cut tofu into thin triangles.
3. Pour in the stock, mushroom, carrots and tofu into pot, and heat everything. When it begins to boil lightly, add sugar and sake, and continue to simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and salt, continue to simmer briefly.
4. Drain all ingredients through a sieve, reserving cooking liquid. Note: let all ingredients cool completely before cooking rice, hence it might start burning in the rice cooker.
5. Place rice and barely into rice cooker, add simmering liquid. If there is not enough simmering liquid, add some water. Add solid ingredients from the sieve and mix everything lightly. Turn on heater. Note: water should be just a little bit above rice.
6. When cooking is finished, keep the cooker covered and let stand for 10 minutes (do not use function "Keep Warm"!). Open the lid and mix everything. Serve warm with some trefoil if you like.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Japanese Fried Noodles (Yakisoba)

One of the most loved japanese dishes in our house (after curry of course). You just need some vegetables, any meat you like and yakisoba sauce. The sauce is a bit tricky - books and web offers quite a variety f possible ingredient, you can buy even ready one from japanese grocery or just use concentrate which comes sometimes in dry soba packs. (I will upload a pictures later of that type). I made yakisoba with Tonkatsu sauce base (Buldog Brand). It was recommended to me by some japanese couple shopping in japanese grocery.

2 portions (150 g. each) cooked soba noodles
60 g. chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
3 cabbage leaves
1/2 carrot
1/2 green bell pepper
3 stalks baby asparagus
3 baby corn
30 g. white mushrooms (keep in hot water if using dried)
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
For yakisoba "handmade" sauce:
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
1 tsp. Japanese-style Workcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Tonkatsu sauce
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Sake
Salt and pepper
For garnishing:
Green laver
Beni-shoga red vine-gared ginger.

1. Cut chicken, season with salt and pepper. Cut the cabbage leaves into 3/8 inch wide rectangles. Peel the carrot and cut into thin stripes. Soak dried mushrooms in hot water. Cut asparagus and baby corns diagonally in three pieces. Slice green bell pepper into thin stripes.
2. Mix all ingredients for sauce in a small bawl and set aside.
3. Start stir frying in two portions (one for each). Spread 1 Tbsp. of oil over the frying pan or wok and add chicken, mushrooms and all vegetables. Stir fry for 3 minutes. Add noodles and fry. For better taste - fry the noodles until both sides are browned first, during drying drizzle 1 tsp. of sake or mirin on them to enhance the taste even more.
4. Add sauce to yakisoba in pan and stir to coat. Arrange on one plate and cover to keep warm.
5. Prepare second portion following above instructions.
6. Sprinkle on top green laver and garnish with beni-shoga red vinegar ginger.
7. Eat with marinated cucumbers with wakame seaweed or kimchee (chinese pickles cabbage)

Marinated Cucumber and Wakame Seaweed (Kyui wakame no amazu-ae)

Quick japanese pickles dressed with sweet vinegar sauce. In original recipe in book "Recipes of Japanese cooking" one more ingredient being added - Shirasu Dried Young Sardine, but i did not have them on hands so made it just out of two ingredients: cucumber and wakame.

1 cucumber
10 g. wakame seaweed (salt cured)
Pinch salt
For sweet vinegar sauce:
2 Tbsp. vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt (1/8 tsp.)
2 Tbsp Dashi stock (from powder - i used kombu and bonito flavor)

1. Prepare sweet vinegar sauce: put vinegar, sugar and salt in a bawl and stir to dissolve completely. Add the stock and cool in refrigerator.
2. Salt cucumber and roll onto a cutting board. Rinse in cold water and cut in a thin slices (edge cut technic). Soak in salted water until softened (20-30 minutes). Squeeze out to drain extra liquid.
3.  Soak wakame seaweed in cold water to soften, string an cut (if it comes in one piece - mine was already shredded). Blanch the seaweed in boiling water and soak in cold water (I just run through it with a boiling water from kettle and then soaked in cold water to cool). Wipe it dry with paper towel.
4. Let all ingredients prepared above rest in a refrigerator until immediately prior to serving. Drain the water of ingredients and mix well with the sweet vinegar sauce.

Thanks a lot for the great recipe experience to "Recipes of Japanese Cooking by Yuko Fujita"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kusa Mahshi

Kusa Mahshi is arabic name for minced meat stuffed baby zucchini. Usually made in tomato sauce or yogurt sauce.

6-8 mini zucchini, middle part removed
150 g. minced lamb
100 g. rice soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes
3 garlic gloves
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. Baharat (arabic 7 spice mix)
1 tsp. dry mint
1 can diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
1 bouillon cube Maggi

1. Prepare zucchini by removing flesh from the middle. Wash a pat dry.
2. Fry minced lamb for 5 minutes and mix with previously soaked in boiling water rice, baharat, sat, pepper and 1 minced garlic glove. Set aside to cool.
3. Put a shallow pan on the medium fire, add 2 cups of water and dissolve one beef or lamb bullion cube. Bring to boil and add can of diced tomatoes, tomato paste and bring to a simmer.
4. Stuff zucchinis with cooled meat mixture, do not reach 0,5 cm till the top of zucchini.
5. Add remaining minced garlic and dry mint to tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper.
6. Add stuffed zucchinis to simmering sauce, cover with a lid and let it simmer on very law heat for 30-40 minutes. Do not over boil - zucchinis should be soft but not mashy to touch.
7. Serve hot with tomato sauce over vermicelli rice. Sprinkle with mint.