Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pickled Veggies and Trying to Take to a Better Shot

Starting my prep on the red and yellow carrots
My first pickles of the seasons. Finally got out to Rutgers Garden Farmers market last Friday. Chickadee Creek Farms had some red and yellow carrots, fennel and beets. All my favorites. I decided to make Smitten Kitchen's pickled veggie sandwich slaw, the carrots will go great in this recipe. I've made this several time with great success, I posted about it here. I also thought this would be a perfect recipe to practice shooting with the borrowed camera. I hope I'm getting better. I need to start applying it to the restaurant shots.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Musubi for Lynn

o-musubi made with barazushi. YUM!

The other day I posted a picture on facebook of a picture of my lunch musubi made with some barazushi I made with hapa rice (brown and white rice). Barazushi is sushi rice with seasoned veggies. I used dried shitake mushrooms, carrots and string  beans with pickled ginger.

An friend from my old neighborhood who now lives in Texas saw the picture and asked for the recipe. I decide instead of just email it to just her, post it to share with whoever would like. It's a bit complicated but so good. I hope the recipe doesn't scare her off. Enjoy!

Barazushi Musubi
Makes about 6–8 musubis depending on the size

Sushi rice, see recipe below
Seasoned  Shitake Mushroom and Carrots, see recipe below 
1/4 to 1/2 c string beans, julienne and blanch
1/4 c pickled ginger, sliced thin

Sushi Rice
3 c of cooked rice, short or medium grain rice [I mixed half of white and brown rice]
1/2c rice vinegar
6 T sugar
1 1/2 T salt
Combine vinegar, sugar and salt and heat till sugar and salt is dissolved. Cool vinegar mixture. Then toss with hot rice. Don't over mix or mash the rice.

Seasoned  Shitake Mushroom and Carrots
6-8 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water until tender, squeeze out excess water then sliced thin
1/2 c julienne carrots
1 1/2 c dashi (you can dried dashi base, I used hondashi I got as the Asian food store, if you can't find it, I think you probably can substitute water or vegetable stock)
2 T sale
12 salt
1T Shoyu

Combine dashi, sake and sugar with mushrooms and carrots and cook for  5–6 minutes. Add salt and shoyu and cook over low heat until tender and sauce evaporates. 

Combine sushi rice, mushrooms, carrots, string beans and ginger. Be careful not to over mix so rice doesn't come a sticky mess. At this point, you can serve the rice. You also can add thinly slice nori and thin one egg omelet sliced thin.

Musubi (rice ball)
You can make with plain rice and add a little filling in the middle. My favorite umeboshi ( pickled salted plum). It goes perfect with rice and the nori. You also can add pickle ginger or seasoned tuna. 
Cut nori into strips of 1-1 1/2" strips [I used giant strip because I was too lazy to cut at 6am in the morning)
The amount of rice depends on how big you want it. I think I use about 1/2 c

Wet your hands, sprinkle salt [with the barazushi rice, I sprinkled just a little because it is seasoned already]. Place the hot/warm rice in salt hands. At this point, you can add a filling into the center of the rice mound. Then start shaping it into triangular shape by cupping and pressing your hands around the rice. Once you get it into the shape you want, add the strip of nori around the rice and press the into the musubi. 

And there you have it, the perfect hand food! 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer Jams

What I've been making so far with summer season fruits. This is why I slave over a hot stove stirring and canning in the summer heat. Thank goodness for central air. 

Peach Butter
Fruit: 4+ pounds (about 9 medium size peaches)
Got these peaches for $0.99/lb. 
I tried a new technique to make to make it easier for me. I pitted and quarter the peaches. Then toss them into blender and pureed them. Measured out the puree and added half the amount in sugar. It came out to 6 cups and I added 3 cups of sugar. I put everything in the crock pot on low leaving it for 7 hours, stirring occasionally. Half way through I cracked open the lid so it would thicken up a bit. Before I put them in bottles I added a juice of a small lemon to brighten up the taste. And that's it, simple. 

Finish Product: a little over 3 pints.

Plum Jam

Fruit: 2 pint of sugar plum plus a bag of the mushy plums
Sugar Plums from the Rutgers Garden farmers markets
I love plum jam. So sweet and beautiful deep purple. The fruit vendor gave me the mushy plum for free when I mentioned I was making jam. The plums at perfect ripeness and were so sweet. [saved some for WG, I think he'll like these] 

beautiful deep purple
Finish Product: 2 pints and almost 3 1/2 pints out this batch.

Blueberry Jam
Fruit: 3 lbs Jersey blueberries

Local blueberries are in season and prices were so cheap. Made a batch of blueberry lemon jam. I used 3 cups of sugar and I added the zest and juice of one lemon at the very end. I forgot to get some pictures but this jam is a chunky with blueberries bit and lemon-y note. Very easy to make. Good first try at jamming. It's a great add to plain yogurt.

Finish Product: 2 pints and almost 3 1/2 pints out this batch.


Wanted to eat steak [and not skirt steak from the restaurant] the other day. Went to see what the prices were at the market. I found a great price 2.89/lb but I realized that they were mis-labelled as pork. I wasn't quite sure what cut they were but I thought they were sirloin and decided to pick them up. Since I wasn't quite sure what cut, decided to make a marinade.

Looked up different types of marinades for sirloin steak and found a easy recipe for chimichurri from Omaha Steak . Of course, I didn't have all the ingredient and need to improvise.

smells so good
right of the grill and resting

Cimichurri adapted from Omaha Steak

4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
2 c mint (asked for cilantro)
zest and juice of 2 lemons
1/2 c olive oil
1 t salt
1/2 t red pepper flakes

Add garlic, parsley, mint (or cilantro) and the zest and juice of the lemon. Turn on the processor and as the starts going stream in the oil. Add the salt and pepper flakes. You may want to adjust the salt and the lemon. Should look like pesto when it is done.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the sauce to serve with steak.

Add the sauce to the zip lock bag and toss the steaks in. Make sure the steaks are cover with sauce. Refrigerate till ready to grill your steaks. Omaha Steak recipe say marinate at least 15 minutes to 2 hours but I marinated it for 6 hours and it was delicious and tender.

I had 2 lbs of sirloin [I think] and there was more than enough marinade for at least 2 more pounds. And the next time I make this recipe, I will reserve a lot more sauce to use in a salad dressing. So good.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Saga of Dirty Mugs in the Sink

Been fighting the fight of dirty mugs in the office sink. Tried to do it the right way opening a ticket for a sign to let people know that clean up after themselves and put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Yes, my crazy new office has a dishwasher and still have dirty dishes in the sink. We even have dish detergent and sponges to hand wash you dishes.

The first few times that it happened, I let it go. I figured they didn't know better even though the dish detergent and sponges are right there next to the sink. 

One MONDAY morning, this is what I walk into. 6 dirty mugs, 2 of them didn't even make into the sink and a disgustingly dirty paper towel. So I walked back to my desk, grab my phone to take a picture and open a ticket with facilities for a sign. 
The dirty paper ended up down the drain. And yes, I had to clean it out

Got a response back that a sign will be put up. I felt good. Then the next morning this is what I walk into. 

coffee ring and cup in the middle of the brand new white counters
9 mugs in the sink and 2 more on counter
One of the mugs had some mystery fluid in it and had been there since the day before. 
mystery fluid, nice!
coffee splatter in ice machine shield

Sent these pictures to facilities again. Their manager was really pissed off. He's a big guy with a loud voice. I wouldn't want to get yelled at by him. 

So eventually a sign went up [took a while to go up] and that very day it went up mugs still appear in the sink after lunch. 

So this is what I did. Princess Hot Flash to the rescue. I made my own sign to stating the obvious in a graphic so everyone can understand. I really don't know who they think will clean up after them. We don't have a maid or Mom on our floor!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

From my front steps

A friend of mine loaned me his digital camera to get some shots of food from the restaurant. Been also getting shots of my garden. These are from my front container garden. Several from the distressed plant rack while the plant whisper was visiting.

alstroemeria keeps blooming
This geranium looked pretty bad when pick it up at the distress plant rack. Plant Whisper worked her magic repotting and adding some coffee grounds. It's been beautiful every since. I think it like living near the time and sage.
pink gerainum
new blossom
Another distress plant rack find. Love the purple flowers. 
purple penta
penta close-up
Just got this from the chef at the restaurant, Red shiso. She told me that vietnamese use this with grilling beef. Here's a link I found about vietnamese herbs: 
red shiso

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Will my Garden Grow?

Or not so much. Kind of slow, almost like it teasing me. The trees are much taller this year in the yard and my little veggie garden doesn't get as much light as the year before. Need to figure out what I'm doing wrong.

This is my garden so far. Most of it planted with seeds this year. May have to move my garden this fall.
almost ready to pick
first harvest
Just watch a video from the The Rusted Garden about spraying it with epsom salt. May try it. His garden was so lush and beautiful. Wish my garden looked like that. Here's the link to cucumber maintance:
kirby cucumber, needs a little help
manoa lettuce
Got the garlic chives from one of the chefs at the restaurant. She also gave a tomato, basil, mint and chiso. Have that in front of the house.
garlic chives
This was a last ditch effort with seed to see if I would get something. I just threw a bunch of seeds in a couple of pots and this is what I got. Going to transplant the flowers this weekend.
dill,  zinnias and pompom flower