Sunday, January 30, 2011

Greek Yogurt

I had my first Greek Yogurt the other day, honey flavored Zoi yogurt. It was really, really good. The creaminess, the right amount of sweetness, oh I fell in love. Turns out greek yogurt can be made at home, all it is is strained regular yogurt, AKA yogurt cheese.
Lined a bowl a strainer and a cloth napkin (didn't have any cheesecloth) and let it sit overnight in my fridge.

Next morning it had become pretty thick.

Mixed in some wildflower honey.

The cold yogurt hardened the honey a little and made it hard to stir so I switched gears and added some agave syrup.

The addition of the honey and agave syrup made the yogurt less creamy but it still tastes pretty good. I can really taste the wildflower honey, might be better to use a milder honey. Next time I'll flavor the yogurt first then strain it. The amount of yogurt decreased to half the original amount, so I guess that justifies why they cost more.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Modified Rice Krispies Treats

We're not big cereal people but every now and then my kids'll go through a cereal phase. They like eating them for afterschool snack rather than breakfast. Corn Flakes and Cheerios are usually stocked in our pantry because I love corn flakes with bananas after my workouts. ^_^

And we never buy cereal when it's not on sale, regular priced cereal isn't worth the money in my eyes, especially the sugary sweet kinds. But quite often different ones go on sale but many times they are one of those bundle deals, like you must buy four. And so we do. But soon after I buy these cereals, my kids' cereal phase is over and we are left with half boxes of cereals. That's when these modified Rice Krispy Treats come into play. Basically the recipe for rice krispy treats but with different cereals mixed in. Todays treats were made with Rice Krispies, Cocoa Puffs, and Cheerios.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Homecured Olives

This year I tried curing my own olives. It was something that has crossed my mind in the past but it never went beyond the curiosity stage. I guess I was having problems finding raw green olives in small quantities (didn't want five gallons of the stuff.) But last x-mas my friend gave me a jar of her home cured olives which tasted sooooo good I was hooked. Turned out that the town at the bottom of our hill has streets lined with olive trees and after a call to the supervisor of Streets and Parks and got the ok to pick them, I was in.

Having picked the olives late in the season, many of the had already changed color and had begun to ripen. In the end I had olives in three different stages of ripeness so I experimented with different processes (future post). The green olives I used the lye method. I was a little scared for I read lye is poison and commonly used as drain opener. But after reading many, many blogs, I was assured it was safe.

About a day in the lye solution, followed by five days of water, and then two days in a brine, my olives were done. Aren't they gorgeous?

Even straight out of the brine solution the olives were very tasty but I decided to give them some extra seasoning. For all of them I added garlic and peppercorns as a base. I tried some different flavorings: one was with rosemary and italian seasoning, the other was bay leaves, and the third was hickory smoke flavor added by liquid smoke. They were all good in their own way. Once we start eating them it's hard to stop. Maybe that five gallons wouldn't of been too much after all. ^_^

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Spinach Quiche

Spinach quiche... one of those foods I don't really follow a recipe. Just throw in what sounds good at the time and bake it. But one thing that I like every single time... sliced fresh tomatoes and melted monterey jack cheese on top and some freshly ground black pepper. Mmm mmm mmm. ^_^

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cattle Tendon Soup

I think I buy tendons only once every couple years and last year was one of those years. I put half into my oden (Japanese hot pot) and froze the other half of a later use, having this soup in mind.
I always wonder why tendons and intestines aren't sold at american grocery stores. So I have to get them at a chinese store. I'm sure U.S. butchers don't throw them away, maybe it all goes into hot dog weiners...
Here's a quick and easy beef tendon soup recipe found at The only change I made was to cut the salt in half (maybe even less salt next time, it was quite salty) and subbed sake instead of yellow wine (since I didn't have any.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Boiled Chestnuts

Sometimes the simplest things taste the best. I'll have to learn how to roast chestnuts one day cuz that sounds good too.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Dark Chocolate Corn Flakes

I had some dark chocolate lying around in a bowl, leftover from my holiday goody making. It sat next to my toaster and every time I made some toast I'd see it but ignore it because I didn't know what to do with it. I didn't want to go down the candymaking path for it seemed like too much work right now for my normal paying job's got me working hard lately. I don't know how or when but chocolate covered corn flakes entered my head. Internet research pointed to just chocolate, to some peanut butter added, even mix-ins such as raisins. But I kept it simple and kept it just chocolate. Melted it and stirred in some corn flakes. For some reason it's one of those things that sounds kinda weird but when you eat it it is really good. Can't really taste the corn flakes but can definitely feel the crunch. I guess it's kinda like crunchy chocolate. You just gotta try one to understand.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Soondubu Jjigae (Korean soft tofu soup)

Cold weather has got me thinking about warm soups and the other day I remember this Korean tofu soup I had at Tofu House in San Diego that was really good. Online research led me to find that I pretty much had all the basic ingredients already so I tried making a vegetarian version. Although I went for the mild version, it was still a little too spicy for the kids, but it turned out pretty good. Found a recipe by Maangchi and added a little gochujang (korean red pepper paste) for a little extra flavor.

Making the soup stock with dried anchovies (in pouch), shiitake mushrooms, onions, kelp, and garlic.

Decided to make it a mushroom dish with various mushies. This one is Bunapi (white beech mushrooms.)

Maitake (hen of the woods.)

King Trumpet mushroom.

Also threw in the shiitake mushrooms from the stock to make a four-mushroom-tofu-soup. Garnished with green onions and a drizzle of sesame oil on the top, and served with rice. Delish!

Cranberry Orange Bread

We all have out favorite quickbread. Mine is banana bread. Never really ventured out into trying other stuff, well except maybe apple bread once and cinnamon bread a few times. I was happy with my banana bread. Till one day my friend gives me a loaf of Cranberry Orange bread. Citrus in my baked good hardly ever happens. Not a big fan of that, and the only exception I can think of are Lemon Bars, but even that is a somewhat recent development. But I was pleasantly surprised. Man, these are good! And it was a nice change to have something different. So she shared her recipe she found at Allrecipes. The fresh cranberries were a nice touch to celebrate the season. This will make it into my "keeper" recipe box. Although it still doesn't beat my banana bread. ^_^

New York Cheesecake

I remember making cheesecake at least once every year. Always at x-mas and usually someone in the family requests it for their birthday dessert. But things changed the last couple years and there wasn't a request for cheesecake and so I hadn't made it in a while. And then recently in my email inbox, my food newsletters were all about cheesecake. Never really associated cheesecake with the holidays but I wonder if they are related. I've always thought cheesecake was a year-round thing. So it seemed like it was a sign, "you need to make cheesecake!" So I listened. (^_^) I've been making the same cheesecake recipe for years, it is so good there was no reason to search for a better recipe. It was a recipe I found in a Joy of Cooking cookbook, but the same recipe can also be found here. You do have to give it about 48 hrs fridge time to let the flavors develope, but if you restrain yourself that long, trust me, you will not be disappointed.