Kitchen Library 2012.12.13


Taiwanese food, women and alcohol, colonial Christmas cake, all the cauliflower, and some jam-making updates this week:

September Brew, Minoh Beer
September Brew, Minoh Beer

Around the Web
I’ve been catching up on my google reader. Here are three articles from Temporarily Lost for your gastronomical pleasure:

Andrew Amiet. “Stinky Tofu, Bubble Tea, and the Legendary Night Markets of Taiwan.” Temporarily Lost. 3 Dec. 2012.
“But why do I travel? That’s easy: I travel to eat.” Amiet recaps the variety food he ate in Taiwan’s night markets in this post and includes some notes on cultural influences. Stinky tofu, coffin bread, lotus-root cakes, dumplings–don’t read this one if you’re hungry!

—. “Cuddly Pandas, Spicy Hotpots, and the World’s Tallest Buddha.” Temporarily Lost. 10 Nov. 2012.
Just look at those gorgeous hot-pot meals! There’s also plenty of photos of Chengdu, architecture, giant Buddhas, and ridiculously cute baby pandas and red pandas, too.

—. “A City of Skyscrapers and Difficulties with Dumplings in Shanghai.”
“Taking the soup dumpling trent to another level, a few restaurants have been offering a fried version of the xiaolongbao, as opposed to the traditional version steamed in a bamboo steamer. Whereas I was able to match wits with the steamed version without much difficulty, the fried version turned out to be a different story altogether…”

“The 12th Night Cake.” Past and Present: The Colonial Williamsburg Podcast. 3 Dec. 2012.
I always enjoy learning about historical culinary traditions. The 12th Night Cake is a forerunner of the contemporary fruitcake, and how it’s made may surprise you.

Christen McCurdy. “Ladies! Liquor! Ladies and Liquor!” Bitch Magazine. 1 Nov. 2012.
Christen McCurdy kicks off a new series on the social history of women and alcohol for Bitch Magazine. “If a single beer makes me a little dizzier at 32 than it did at 25, so does the way we talk about alcohol and young women — it’s polarized, it’s disorienting. I want balance in the discourse, too. This blog will be an attempt to help create it.”

Marc Matsumoto. “Omurice.” No Recipes.
I’m including this post here because I didn’t make this recipe, but if you were wondering how to make Japanese omurice (omuraisu, オムライス), an omelet filled with fried rice, here’s a guide with some gorgeous photos.

What I’m Cooking

Boston Brown Bread
Boston Brown Bread

I’ve been on a Heidi Swanson kick lately. If you think you can’t do much with “just” tofu and vegetables, let me present Swanson’s body of work as evidence to the contrary. For example, this week, I bought a lot of tofu, broccoli, and cauliflower on sale, and with these, I made “Sicilian Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta” and “Winter Vegetable & Tofu Korma.” Both of these make quite a lot of food–about 6-8 servings–so we’ve had plenty of leftovers for lunches and dinners.

Notes for cooking in Japan:
Sicilian Broccoli: I used tumeric for coloring the pasta since saffron is rather expensive and added some shredded cheese we had in the fridge, though I’ve made it with Parmesan before.

Winter Vegetable Korma: I have crushed red pepper flakes from the US that were left to me by repatriating friends, but I hear that cayenne pepper is a suitable substitute if you add to taste little by little. I used cauliflower, potatoes, broccoli, and carrot in mine, but you can use other seasonal vegetables. I bet sweet potatoes (yams or orange sweet potatoes) would be good in this, too.

I also made Mark Bittman’s “Boston Brown Bread” from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (Kindle edition). It’s a bit of an odds-and-ends bread with your choice of flours and sweeteners–I used 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat, and 1 cup of corn grits leftover from Thanksgiving corn bread with half maple-syrup and half-molasses for the sweetener. This is a dense bread with a molasses punch, originally meant to be served with Boston baked beans. You could use different flour or maple syrup if you wanted something with a lighter flavor. I divided the bread into two loaves, and they turned out very well in the moven: cooked through in 70 minutes and no burning or raw spots! The bread was great with peanut butter, ume jam, butter, or persimmon jam, though I really want to try it with a savory molasses-spiked main dish now.

We got our first snow in Kanazawa on Dec. 8-9 this year. I, however, was in Hyogo enjoying the sunshine and helping my friends make homemade eggnog and saganaki (fried Greek cheese). One my way back to Ishikawa, we stopped at Minoh Beer’s new Beer Belly Tenma location, where I had a Cabernet beer, an Imperial Stout (my favorite), and tried the (seasonal) September Brew, which is served with fresh mint on top–it tasted like a mojito in beer form.

I got to use my new Weck canning jar, although I do want to perfect at least one jam recipe before I post any more of them here. I really like canning jam, but I often end up wanting to work on the recipe more, and then the fruit goes out of season. Someday I’ll get more jam recipes up…


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jenna Anders says:

    I love your website! I’m an American living near Nagoya and am always looking for new cooking resources. May I ask where you get wheat flour? I’ve heard a lot of people order it online. I was just wondering what your recommendation was. Thanks!

    1. Leah says:

      Thank you! I’m glad it’s been helpful!

      For the flour: It really depends on where you live. I usually buy Tomizawa brand from the import store in Omicho Market, but when I lived in the country, I usually got it at the big supermarket in town. I would recommend checking your big supermarkets in the baking section first. Some of my friends bought theirs online from Tomizawa. I’ve actually got a list of online flour-sellers here, so hopefully you’ll find something that works for you.

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