Monday, May 25, 2015

Okano Day

I named this past Saturday as Okano Day as a day of food and fun with my parents at my house. My cousin M, her husband T, daughters A, L and T plus her mom and dad, my nephew T and his girlfriend S, and family friends P and P round the cast of characters for Okano Day.

Time sped by like a quickly with perfect weather, great food [which we forgot to take pictures of] and great company. And we all survived in one piece. 

This is our Okano Day menu: 

Momofuku Pork Shoulder
Mom's famous corn beef hash [she brought her own Libby's can corn beef from Hawaii]
Mom's famous nishime [made her make it with chicken]
Mom's famous Mac salad Hawaii-style
M's Crockpot Lentils
P & P's Thai Beef salad
T & S's Guacamole
My Roasted Tomato salsa
Kale salad

Earl Grey Tea Cake with lilikoi mousse and lemon buttercream
T & S's Summer bars
Crazy amounts of really great fruits--especially the muscat grapes and many different varieties of berries

Here's a couple of pictures I remembered to take. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves and had enough to eat. Whoever was left at the end, took a bag food home with them. 

The start of great things to come
Patience is a virtue when it comes to pork shoulder
Waiting, waiting, waiting
Batch 1 of my summer roasted tomato salsa.
Only picture of the cake with one of the princesses
Princesses A and L with nephew T and girlfriend S in background
Too much commotion to get everyone to look in your direction

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Gathering of Random Llinks

chewy goodness! Lilikoi mochi!
Thought I shared some random links that you may like: 

-This post got me at "Miso". I've been obsesses about all things Miso or Koji. So why not Miso Sourdough Bread from Lucky Peach. They say the bread ends up "tasting like a cross between dark chocolate and pumpernickel in the final baked loaf." YUM!

-Although I look like hell these days, I still love fashion and I hope I get to this exhibit. Maybe one day I'll have the energy to dress like I care again.

-Here's an article on Koji from SFGate with some recipes. You're going to want to try it.

-Teaching myself code to get the restaurant website up and running. Found this link about 6 sites that teach you code from Swiss Miss. You know what I'll be up to this summer beside baking, jamming, knitting/crocheting and sewing. [I got to get my etsy store up]

-And of course, I couldn't end with out mentioning lilikoi or mochi. Here's a recipe Lilikoi Mochi from Mauna Kea Tea Blog. I decided to make this recipe because it uses brown sugar and kinako. I need to make it again.

Friday, May 1, 2015

food inspired: 05.01.015

Some quick links to what been food inspiring me.

-Went to the library to find a book for my commute [Woo hoo! on book #3]. And found Bar Tartine: Techniques and Recipe. Been seeing this mentioned in a lot food blogs for a while. Lots of stuff that I've been wanting to do try: drying [been think of buying a dehydrator] and fermentation [I love koji]. There"s a recipe for apple butter that uses the dehydrator. Oh, I think I need to buy this book.

-One of the chefs at our restaurant has great organic garden. She gave me some garlic chives that she harvested. I decided to share some of it with my co-workers. Here's a couple of recipes from No Recipe Blog that I shared with them: Niratama (Garlic Chives Scrambled Eggs) and Oisobagi Kimchi (stuffed cucumber kimchi). The Oisobagi is so good--great umami taste with miso.

My Garlic Chives bounty

-The chef at restaurant has also been spoiling me by making some great vietnamese style salad. I found this chicken and cabbage version from the The Urban Poser blog on pinterest that I want to try for my lunch. Maybe add some kale. Or maybe just ask the chef to make me a salad because I'm lazy.
Vietnamese sausage, pork, shrimp, flat rice noodles with salad and Nuoc Cham

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Working off my breakfast

of Mochi Waffles. I did a hour on my mini stepper watching Sunday Morning. Got to work off the carbs but at least it was with kinako--soy bean powder to add a little bit of protein to it. 

I saw a post on Lucky Peach on FB about Poly-Grain Mochi Waffles that I wanted to try with the mochi that my mom sends me for my good luck new year's day mochi soup. 

I'm so lucky my hoarder sensibility made me keep this old waffle make we picked up a flea market. The plates are removable to wash and the hinge are bit adjustable to it help with the hard froze cubes of mochi it put in. It also has temperature gauge from low to high I thought it was nice.
heating up waffle maker
After I heated the waffle maker up, I coated the plates with butter and tossed in the mochi. I wasn't sure how long it would take, so I kept opening to check. 
early in the procces
As it cooked the mochi puffed up more and more and the indent got deeper.
all done
I dressed the waffles with kinako. It's my favorite topping on mochi. I love the slightly sweet roasted nut flavor. I add a little sugar and a pinch of salt to the kinako. It was great, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I'm definitely doing this again. Maybe when my parents come up for a visit. If you have waffle maker and some mochi hanging around, this is worth the try.
can't wait to try it!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Spring has Sprung at my House

Testing out camera on loan by friend. Want to get some shots of our food to put up in the window in the front. Need to get use to shooting with it first. Here's what sprung around my house. It's a beautiful day

cherry blossoms
a single daffodil in my hosta patch
more forsythia
chives that come back every year

Friday, April 24, 2015


It's always around this time of year when I start thinking cake but more specifically, birthday cake, MY BIRTHDAY CAKE. Yes, this baker bakes herself a birthday cake. I had big dreams of testing out cakes and fillings to find my favorite combination to create "the birthday cake". But as life moves on, taxes and baking items that others love, took up most of my recipe testing time.

Can't say I didn't test any recipe. I did test the mousse recipe when J was in town for a visit so at least I know I can fiddle with that as filling. And remember last year's cake: lemony white cake recipe from Dorie Greenspan with lemon swiss buttercream and a crown of fresh berries. Here's the link to that post. So I have a couple of ideas.

My love of lilikoi won out this year and I decided to make Earl Grey Tea Cake with lilikoi mousse and cream cheese frosting. 

We end up eating cake at 9:30 in the morning
I slightly adapted the Milk Tea Cupcake recipe from JustJennRecipe. Here's what I adjusted: used 4 tea bags of Stash Double Bergamont Earl Grey Tea, 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla and baked the cake in a two 8" square pans for 30 minutes.

Here's a couple of shots of the great start.

steeping the tea in milk
creaming the butter and sugar to a very light yellow
bake to golden brown
Then drama begins. I think the trouble started with starting the cake too late and not having enough time to cool and chill everything component of this cake before assembly. 

As the cake cooled, I started on the filling lilikoi mousse using the same recipe I tested the raspberry mousse. Here's the link to that post. I was ambitious enough last weekend to make the lilikoi curd. I forgot to take a picture of the mousse on it's own. Here's a picture of the leftover mousse for me and WG.

a beautiful light yellow color
I thought the cake cooled off enough that I decided to take them out of the pans [apparently not]. I buttered and floured the pan but didn't a put a sheet of wax paper on the bottom. I should have known better. The bottom stuck to the pans and needed to puzzle piece them back. I wanted to slice each layer in half but I wasn't sure they would be stable enough as thinner layers. [This where I stopped taking pictures of the steps because I was getting annoyed.] 

To make a long story of my birthday cake disaster short, here quick recap [well as short as I could make it]

  • top layer cracked
  • added mousse layer, use it as glue for the crack
  • chill to set mousse
  • frosted cake
  • realized that the cake was too big for cake box
  • trimmed frosted cake
  • layers begin to slide
  • about to toss the cake on the floor
  • lots of slamming and cursing
  • shoved bamboo skewers in the cake to hold it in place
  • shoved the *%$#^% cake in the refrigerator
  • I'm done for tonight
  • wake up 15 minutes earlier [I already wake up way too early] to get cake ready for travel
  • pull skewers out, last minute touch up to cake
  • add "Happy April" in lilikoi curd to top
  • realize cake too tall for box
  • find a container to bring the cake in
  • add plastic wrap to the top
  • say good by to "Happy April"
Here's rest of pictures I got. Not sure how this cake survived not being thrown in the garbage. But it did and it survived the hour commute on NJ transit and arrived in one piece. That's all I could ask. It tasted great and may make batch for the restaurant. I just have to remember everything is better with some time to chill including the crazy baker.
before the trim and sliding layer disaster
when realize it still was too big for the box

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Donated Yarn Market bags

When you happen to be the office knitter/crocheter, unwanted yarn finds its way to my desk. 

This giant skein of yarn came from a dad at my office. I can only assume it was from school project. Hoping I can make two market bags with it. 
12oz of brown cotton
Not exactly my color, going to try and make it work. I'm thinking of trying my hand at ombré dyeing--a dark navy blue. More to come.
base of the market bag