Saturday, September 19, 2015

Random Links: September 2015

-got this from Quipsologies. Perfect for my new commuting strategy or my biking friends.

-video game for me and my yarnie friends. found this on not martha

-because I'm a foodie and have to post at least one link on food. Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk from the Kitchn sold me on this recipe. I'll make it when the weather gets cooler.

-I guess this makes three. I've been wanting make spareribs but can't choose between these two recipes--in the oven for 6 hours or sweet and sour Hawaiian-style

-from funny one star national park reviews. Funny.

Red Shiso: Part 2--pickles

Red Shiso
I posted about my first harvest hereAnd now that I have all the red shiso that I need [I cheated, the chef at the restaurant supplemented me with a beautiful bag of leaves], I'm on the road to make shibazuke, japanese pickles. Shibazuke is pickled eggplant, cucumber and ginger in salt and red shiso leaves. One of my favorite tsukemono. I love to eat it on hot rice, it's salty, tart and crunchy.

I've only had store-bought shibazuke so I was so exciting to get the shiso plant and start planning what I could do with it. I found this recipe from Sojourner Food. It looked doable. The only item I didn't have from the recipe was the ginger buds, myoga. 

[Ha! I just googled the myoga and found a link on how to grow them. If you feel ambitious to grow your own, here's the link. I may tried this indoors this winter. This is what happens when you don't have a pet anymore. You look for other things to take care of.]

Back to the recipe, I just added little more ginger in it's place of the myoga. Here's some of the pictures of my first attempt at shibazuke.

This is the bag of shiso leaves from the chef. She still want to give me more. This was after I took out 40 leaves for the pickles. I don't know what she's thinking I'm going to make with these leaves. 

it starts out green then turns red on one side
I added the salt to the washed shiso leaves and tossed it together. I let it sit while I prepped the eggplant, cucumber and ginger.
pre-toss with kosher salt
Chopped the veggies into bite size pieces and the ginger into thin strips. Then salt and let to sit for 1/2 hour.
all chopped, waiting for the salt
After a 1/2 hour, I made sure that there was liquid from the salted veggies. Then I squeezed the shiso to get the purple-ly juice out. 
I added the juice and the squeezed shiso to the veggies and toss together. Taste a cucumber to see if the salt needs to adjusted. The recipe says it should be salty enough to pucker but not unbearable. I added a couple more unsalted shiso because I didn't think the juice was purple enough. [I hope it helps]
all mixed up, now to wait
I packed it up in tall-ish plastic container, put dish with a can of condensed milk in another plastic container on top of that to weigh it down and cover. Now to wait a week to it is done. On Sunday, I'll give a mix. I'll post the finish product later. Can't wait, smell great already. 

I still have a 1/2 a bag full of shiso and some ginger to use up. What to do. 

I decide to try out shiso wrapped salmon. The chef at the restaurant told me about this. She said her husband, who is Vietnamese, wrapped fish with the shiso and grilled it. 

I marinated the salmon in koji [store-bought] and grated ginger to keep with the japanese theme. I let it sit for about 1/2 hour then wrap the salmon with the shiso. skewering the leaves to stay on. Then I tossed it on the grill, turning it once, till salmon was done. Here's what it looks like. 
right off the grill
Taste? Pretty good. The koji gave is it that sweet and salty taste. The ginger went well with the koji and shiso flavor. The shiso still had the shiso flavor with a little bit of smokiness from the grill.  Would definitely do it again. 

What I'd do differently? Marinate fish longer with more koji and ginger, probably overnight. Cut up the salmon in smaller pieces so it is easier to wrap in the leave and use toothpicks instead of skewers. And lastly, don't grill in the dark. hard to see when the salmon was ready. I'll write up this recipe when I get the proportions right. Coming soon.

More shiso to use. Maybe some pickled ginger with shiso. Maybe I can dehydrate the leaves and make some furikake. Hmmm. That's a thought.

Friday, September 18, 2015


gerainum leaf

Been shooting a lot with my borrowed camera. Got a bunch of shots from my morning waterings. Just thought I'd share what I've been practice shooting. Having fun with the camera.

Here's my watered album on flickr. If I get more watered pictures will keep adding to it. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

I'm late, I'm late

returning my latest read Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson. Just can't seem to finish it. I've been enjoying, it takes place, part of the time in NYC during the 80's, right when I arrived. I'm almost there and I'll just pay the fine. I thought I'd finish it up on my mini vacation but ended up knitting instead. 

Here's reading stats so far this year. Life of a commuter sure up the books read numbers. I'm impressed with myself.

My last read: Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister
Books read so far this year: 7
Books borrowed from the library: 4

As you can see I've been making good use of my library these days. Decided to go old school and borrow books to read on my commute. Since I'm there at least once a month, I've found some great things in the building while searching for something to read.

The New Brunswick Free Public Library is in a old Carnegie building. And still has some great old fixtures. Look at these old shelves.
ornate old metal shelving
close up of the scrolling
On the second level, the floor has opaque glass panels.
love these panels, wish it had a better lighting fixture
This give me more reason not to buy a kindle or a nook. I guess I'll keep doing this until it's not fun anymore. Support you local libraries. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Red Shiso: First Harvest

15 leaves so far
Collecting them to try my hand at making some tsukemono--shibazuke one of my favorites. Japanese pickles of cucumbers and eggplant flavored with red shiso. I found this recipe from Sojourner FOOD. Hopefully will try it after labor day.

You probably know shiso as that green ruffle-ly leaf served with your sushi. You probably thought it was decoration. It's sort of like mint with refreshing flavor. Red shiso is use in to give flavor and color to umeboshi--japanese pickled plum. 

Such beautiful leaf. After I harvest enough for my shibazuke. I'm going to try and harvest the smaller leaves to add to salad. I'm also going to try the recipe that our Thai chef suggested of wrapping fish in the leaf and grilling it. Stay tune for more.
red on backside
and green on top

Sunday, August 30, 2015

tiger fig, fig jam, FIG NEWTON!

Someone at my office left me a tiger fig on my desk while I was in a 1/2 day meeting. It was so beautiful sitting alone on my desk.
what a beauty!
inside and out
This and the FB comments lead me to my next recipe testing. HOMEMADE FIG NEWTONS!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

I started with dessert . . .

. . . and now to the rest of the meal.

Friends from Hawaii are in town to move #2 into her new college. Decided to test out some recipes on them. Since they are foodies as much as me I need they would be up for the challenge.

A while back WG had brought home rack of goat. He wanted see what it was like. But it was large amount and we couldn't eat it all. I remembered that A/A were coming at the end of summer and I knew they would be up for it.

Started with appetizers, my grilled tomato salsa with chips and veggies. If you want the recipe, I posted it here. I this time I added green onions to the mix. Made this why A/A/C were in the city seeing friends and doing the tourist thing.
before it was salsa
4 quarts later
Next I marinaded the rack in chimichurri sauce. I'm in love with this stuff. The lemon and lemon zest make this so delicious anyway you eat it. I posted the recipe here. This batch, my herb blend was mint, flat leaf parsley and cilantro.

I also marinaded some shrimp in olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and thyme from garden, just in case people didn't like the goat.

Then I started prepping for the panzanella salad from the pioneer woman--grilled some bread, chopped tomatoes, red onions cucumbers and yellow pepper. To be put together when they arrive back.

When A/A/C got back we started to grilling. Goat and shrimp got toss on the grill manned by A and I tossed up the salad.
I think I chopped up bread too big
Now for the main course.
Shrimp with fish sauce/lime juice/chili dipping sauce
carving up the small rack
close-up of A's carving technique
right off the grill from the grillmaster
All came together for a nice tasting with good food, good drink and good friends. 

The overall review of the goat was the smaller rack was pretty tough but flavor good. The chimichurri charred nice and gave is a nice smoky flavor. Just enough salty taste. Larger rack was much more tender and easier to eat. If you never had goat before it not as gaming as lamb. Really worth the try. Even C gave it a try [she was very leery of it] and like it. 

Next time, WG brings home goat from the market. I may try and make a stew out of it.