Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory cabbage pancakes)

Posted October 20, 2019 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Ethnic, Miscellaneous

Okonomiyaki is, in essence, just a fancy, savory cabbage pancake. In Japan it’s available in many regional variations—you’ll hear about Hiroshima okonomiyaki, Tokyo okonomiyaki, and so on. This relatively simple version should, I guess, be called Okayama okonomiyaki because that’s where my wife’s cousin lives (it’s her recipe). It is served with okonomiyaki sauce and traditionally eaten with hashi (Japanese word for chopsticks) and a small metal spatula for cutting. And, of course, white rice and a selection of oshinko (Japanese pickles)! Our approach is to put a large electric skillet on the table and cook as we go along, but you can cook in the kitchen and keep warm in the oven.


1 c low protein flour such as White Lily or cake flour (not self-rising).
1 c water
½ lb small peeled shrimp, thinly sliced pork chop, chicken breast, or a combination
3 c thinly sliced (as for coleslaw) freshest green cabbage
1 egg
½ c bean sprouts
½ c slivered scallions

Mix the flour and water, making sure there are no lumps. Beat in the egg. Mix the cabbage, sprouts, scallions, and shrimp/meat in a large bowl. Add the flour slurry and mix well.

Heat your skillet to medium-high and add some vegetable oil, just a thin layer. When the oil is hot, add the cabbage mixture in about 1 c dollops and use a large spatula to flatten each into a pancake about 3/4 inch thick. Cook until the bottom is lightly browned, then flip. Continue until cooked thru, but not mushy, and remove to a plate. Continue with the remaining cabbage mixture, adding more oil to the pan as needed. Serve hot with the accompaniments mentioned above.

Miso-glazed chicken

Posted October 12, 2019 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Poultry

Miso, a fermented soybean paste, is a prime source of umami, the mysterious fifth flavor that is so valued. It comes in two basic varieties, white (milder and a bit sweet) and red (stronger and saltier). It makes a great coating for baked chicken.

1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces (see note)
1/2 c white miso, or a mix of white and red
2 TB honey
1 TB soy sauce
4 TB softened butter
Black pepper

Note: This means 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, and each breast piece cut crosswise into 2 pieces. Use the wings and trimmings for stock. Or, use 4 whole chicken legs, divided.

Put the chicken in a large bowl. Mix all the other ingredients until well blended–you may still have some flecks of butter visible. Add to the chicken and mix well. Place skin side up in a baking pan with some separation between pieces. Bake at 375f until nicely browned and the inside of a thigh registers 165f.

Hash browns at home

Posted October 8, 2019 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Breakfast, Sides, Uncategorized, Vegetables/potatoes/rice

A lot of folks, myself included, would think of these as a treat to have when eating breakfast at a diner. But they are so easy to make at home, so why wait? They are a simpler version of the classic Latkes and are a favorite accompaniment to breakfast.

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2 c finely chopped potatoes*
2 TB minced onion (optional)
2 TB bacon fat or vegetable oil (not butter)
3 TB heavy cream (optional)

If using onions, mix with the potatoes. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet, medium heat. When a speck of potato starts to sizzle, add the potatoes. Use a spatula to shape and press them into a pancake no more than 1/2 inch thick. Let cook, undisturbed, until the bottom is nicely browned, 5-10 minutes. Flip over (easier if you cut the pancake in half first). If using cream, dribble over the potatoes. Continue cooking until the 2nd side is browned. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

* about the size of a raw navy bean, or a bit smaller

Gazpacho

Posted June 22, 2019 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Soups, Vegetarian

A wonderfully tasty and refreshing cold soup, perfect for the summer when the markets are bursting with super-fresh produce. There are jillions of recipes, here is mine. All proportions and amounts are approximate. The soup benefits from sitting for a few hours before serving, in the fridge, but it is not strictly necessary.

4 large ripe tomatoes
1 medium or 2 small cucumbers
1 small or 1/2 large sweet bell pepper, yellow preferred (for the color)
1/4 red onion
1 clove garlic
Jalapeño pepper, to taste (or omit)**
4 c tomato or V-8 juice
2 TB sherry vinegar
1/4 c best olive oil
Pepper

** An option to the jalapeño is to allow each diner to stir in hot sauce to their liking at the table.

Halve the tomatoes along the equator (not thru the stem) and remove seeds and pulp with a spoon. Set pulp aside in a strainer and save juice. Dice the tomatoes and put in a large bowl.

Seed and dice the cuke and sweet pepper, put in the same bowl.

Thinly slice, then dice, the onion. If it smells harsh, soak in hot tap water for 10 min, drain, then add.

Finely mince the jalapeño, if using, and add.

Peel the garlic and put thru a press into the bowl.

Add the tomato/V-8 juice plus the reserved juice, the vinegar, olive oil, and pepper. Stir well. Add salt if needed. Chill, preferably for a few hours, and serve.

 

 

BBQ ribs in the oven

Posted April 27, 2019 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Grilling, Pork

When you have a hankering for BBQ ribs but the weather prevents you from firing up the grill, try this. I confess to having been doubtful at first–how could an oven duplicate the flavor of cooking over wood or charcoal? I was pleasantly surprised.

The coffee, with its bitterness, mimics the slightly charred flavor of the grill, and the liquid smoke adds authentic smokiness (it is, after all, a natural product made from condensing wood smoke).

2 racks St. Louis style pork spareribs
1/2 c ground dark roast coffee
2 TB liquid smoke
1 TB salt
Store-bought BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s)

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

If it hasn’t been done already, remove the thin white membrane from the underside of the ribs. If desired, cut each rack in half crossways.

Put the coffee and 1 c water in a small saucepan and simmer for 5-10 min. Strain thru a paper coffee filter or paper towel; discard grounds.

Add water to the coffee to make 3 c, then add the smoke and salt, stirring to dissolve. Put ribs, meat side down, in one layer in a roasting pan. Pour in the liquid, cover the pan tightly with foil, and bake for 90 min.

Remover meat and discard liquid. Brush the ribs on both sides with sauce and place on a rack on a rimmed cookie sheet. Return to the oven and bake for 90 min, brushing more sauce on the top after 45 min. Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil, and let sit for 30 min before serving.

Farro salad

Posted April 12, 2019 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Salads, Vegetarian

Farro is marketed as an ancient type of wheat—supposedly, it is the same as wheat was before humans started domesticating and hybridizing it. Be that as it may, it’s a tasty and useful grain. This is one of my favorite ways to use it. I prefer the variety called einkorn with its smaller grains, but you can use any farro.

Farro

1 c farro
½ c sliced radishes
½ c halved cherry tomatoes
½ c cucumber halved lengthwise and then sliced
1 c arugula or other salad green in small pieces
3 TB (about) olive oil
1 TB (about) balsamic vinegar
S & P to taste

Rinse and drain farro. Add to 3 c boiling salted water and simmer for about 30 min, until done to your liking (it should be a bit chewy, I think). Drain, rinse to cool, drain again, and toss with remaining ingredients. Tastes better if allowed to sit for a while before serving.

 

Cream of mushroom soup

Posted January 4, 2019 by kitchenmyths
Categories: mushrooms, Soups, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

During my childhood this was a favorite, out of the red and white can. Now I make my own, and it’s much better (as you might imagine). The mushrooms you use will make a difference; if you use only the standard white supermarket ‘shrooms it’ll be tasty, but adding some “wild” ones makes a big difference. I am not suggesting you go out in the woods and start picking, that can be dangerous, but many different varieties are now cultivated and available in markets. Some are available dried, as well, and I particularly recommend dried porcini for their great flavor.

2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 – 1.5 lb fresh mushrooms
1 medium potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1/3 c chopped onion
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
A few grinds of black pepper
1/2 stick butter
4 c vegetable stock
1 c heavy cream (preferred) or half’n’half
2 TB dry sherry
Chopped parsley or chives

Cover the dried mushrooms with boiling water and soak for at least 15 min. Trim the remaining mushrooms, washing if needed, and chop coarsely.

Melt the butter in a heavy soup pot and when hot add the fresh mushrooms, potato, onion, pepper, and garlic. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring. The mushrooms may give off some liquid, that’s OK. Add the dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid and the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 min. Let cool slightly and then use a blender to puree completely. Return to pot and stir in the cream and sherry. Serve garnished with the parsley or chives.

 

 


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