Wednesday, December 30, 2009

and bacon.

whoops, i forgot to add the "and bacon" part to the last post! what holiday wouldn't be complete without a post on bacon!

my mom made a large batch of omochi for me to take back with me to portland.  omochi or mochi is basically sweet rice that has been steamed and then pounded into a dough. we form them into patties/balls which you can eat as is, or stuff azuki (sweet red beans) inside among other things.  needless to say, we have a prized hashimawari family recipe my grandmother invented, that i am now going to share with all of you...

bacon omochi:
1 omochi
1 slice of bacon
1 piece of nori (dried seaweed)
soy sauce

wrap bacon around omochi so that the seam side is down. heat your pan on medium heat and place omochi in pan seam side down. brown on all sides. remove from pan and wrap with nori. dip in soy sauce as you wish.

probably the most simple but ingenious thing ever invented. my grandma is a genious...don't even get me started with her ham wrapped fried eggs....

bacon omochi!!!

holiday eating and bacon.

first, i would like to start off by saying "IT'S SNOWING IN PORTLAND! IT'S SO EXCITING!"

eh, hem. sorry. you must all remember that i am from southern california and these types of weather occurences are non-exsistent in those parts.

ok, on to food!

to update, i went home for a few days (thanks for the ticket, bro!) and celebrated christmas with my family. nonetheless, i ended up cooking a little. i asked my mom what we were planning on eating for christmas and she said, "prime rib and chicken."  (eyebrow raise) now, you must understand, when i normally ask my mom this question, a notepad with long list of very descript dishes are presented to me, along with drawn out plating diagrams and table set up with said plates on it.  (seriously. i grew up cooking like this. and you all wonder where i got this from.)  when my mom is that obscure, you know something is up. the conversation ensued:

"prime rib and chicken, huh?"
"what are you doing with the chicken?"
"frying it. karaage. you're dad said he wants to eat it."
"seriously? chicken karaage? that's all i eat at the restaurant. did you want me to cook some pork or something?"
"sure! you can do whatever you want! make a list and we'll go shopping tomorrow!"
oh i see...this was my mom's off hand way of having me cook but not actually asking me even though both she and i assumed that is what was going to happen from the start.  haha.

so, i added to the mix a stuffed pork loin, roasted potatoes, a pear salad and a yuzu and persimmon milk custard for dessert.  of course my mom had a warm shrimp and spinach salad, wafu cucumber and wakame salad and a japanese sweet potato mash up her sleave the whole time.

to say the least, it all turned out great. my mom's prime rib turned out great (as usual) and the chicken karaage didn't even end up on the table.  i threw the pork loin recipe below to give you a taste of what kind of cooking was going on on christmas day.  hope you all had some delicious eats!

fennel and mushroom stuffed pork loin:
1 pork loin, halved and cleaned/trimmed*
2 fennel bulbs, sliced (reserve fennel tops)
6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 king oyster mushrooms, sliced (same size as shiitake)
4 button mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2oz sake
1T fennel fronds chopped
butter/olive oil, as needed
salt and pepper, to taste

2 qts beef/veal stock
1 fennel top with fronds
2oz red wine
1/4 cup onion, diced
1T (.5oz) shallots, chopped
1T, butter

*for the pork:
after trimming and cleaning it up, butterfly it open. lay out a long piece of plastic wrap and place the pork on the top half. fold over the wrap on top (like a hotdog), leaving room along the edges for the meat to expand. find some type of make-shift meat mallet (obviously, you can use a meat mallet if you have one.)  because we don't have such tools in the hashimawari household, we chose to use the heaviest saute pan we have to pound the pork loin. we also don't have industrial kitchen sized plastic wrap to hold the length of our giant pork loin, so we used a plastic trashbag instead. (my mom is a genius.)

go to town and pound the pork loin to about a half inch thickness. use this time to harness any power from holiday stress or to just release any of that pent up end of the year emotion. my mom certainly enjoyed this part way too much. it was defintely a site to see mom smashing a piece of meat wrapped up in a trash bag with a giant skillet.

but i digress.

preheat your oven to 375F.
add olive oil to a heated pan and saute the garlic and onion. add fennel, then mushrooms and saute for a few more minutes. add sake and reduce.  adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. remove from pan and set aside to cool.

after the stuffing is cooled, salt and pepper both sides of the pork. i chopped up some of the fennel fronds and seasoned the the pork with that as well for some added aromatics (plus, it looks cool too!).  place the stuffing on the inside and then roll the thing up into a log. tie it with some can try a roast tie, or if you would rather not, you can always cut 5 or 6 smaller pieces of twine and tie each section individually.  once your stuffed loin is secured, heat a large pan and add oil to coat the bottom.  over large heat, sear the loin on all sides till brown. remove from pan (reserve the pan!) and place on roasting rack or pan and throw it in the oven for about 30-45 minutes. (use a meat thermometer to check it about half an hour in. you want to take the loin out at about 140F. )

while that is cooking, heat the pan that you just seared the pork in. if there is a lot of fat in the pan, make sure to dump some of it out or your sauce will be greasy. saute the onions and shallots for a few minutes. add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up any of those tasty bits off the bottom of the pan. add your stock and fennel tops and reduce down about 2/3.  strain the sauce and return the liquid to the pan. you will probably have to reduce it a little more or until you get a consistency where the sauce just coats the back of a spoon. if it gets too thick, you can add some stock to loosen it up.  taste! taste! taste! and adjust the seasonings. if it is on the bitter side, you may have to add a pinch of sugar. if it seems really rich, you can add a squeeze of lemon juice. after you think it's pretty darn tasty, remove it from the heat and throw in a pad of butter. swirl it in and you are done!

when the pork is ready, pull it from the oven and let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes. slice it up and serve with sauce!

Monday, December 21, 2009

fried egg tortilla soup.

hmm. monday.

what to do without school or work?

well, with a sick roomate and some left over orange juice, i started off the day sleeping in and briefly leaving the confines of my room to make some mimosas. (why not?)

a bit later, i found myself walking circles around the house because i'm used to constant movement during the first 12 hours of the day so i decided that it may be a good idea to make some soup for poor ol' benny.

tortilla soup it is. and for some added protein, a fried egg on top.

tortilla soup:
1 quart (4 cups) chicken broth/stock
1 quart (4 cups) water
4 skinless chicken thighs (bone in)

2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
5-6 plum tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped*
2 red jalapeno peppers** or 2 chipotle peppers
1 small yellow squash, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons, tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
olive oil

tortillas, cut into strips
bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
grated mozzarella, as needed
eggs, as needed

*the tomatoes can be peeled easily by scoring the bottom with an X and then dropping them briefly into boiling water for 10 seconds or so and then quickly thrown into an ice bath. the peel should come right off from the bottom. roughly chop it into small chunks. this is process is called "tomato concasse" if you happen to see this on any recipes. of course, you could always buy canned diced tomatoes, but where's the fun in that?
** because i live in portland, chipotle peppers are hard to come by, so i did a faux version of it by roasting the red jalapeno peppers over the burner until they char and then throwing them in a paper bag. when you take them out, you can scrape the burned skin off with the back of your knife. i then chopped them up to about the same size of the garlic.

ok, so. salt and pepper the chicken and then throw it into a hot oiled pot. lightly brown it on both sides and then remove it, set aside. add the garlic and onion to the pan and saute for a few minutes until the onions become translucent. add the peppers and tomatoes to the pan to help deglaze or to get all the bits off the bottom. add the rest of the ingredients, including the chicken  EXCEPT the squash and black beans to the pot. bring the mix to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. basically, this will simmer until the chicken gets super tender and just falls off the bone. (about an hour).

in the meantime, lightly oil and salt your tortilla strips and then throw them in a 375 degree oven and bake until brown and crispy. you can grate the cheese of your choice and chop some cilantro while your at it.

when the chicken is tender, remove it from the pot and shred it off the bone and then return the meat to the pot with the squash and the beans. let is simmer for another 10 minutes or until the squash is tender. season with salt and pepper. (i added quite a bit of salt.) also, make sure to dig out that bay leaf. (but then again, you can always make a game out of it and say whoever gets it, doesn't have to do dishes!)

soup done.

now, for the fun part. fry your egg to your preferred doneness ( i like over medium) and then place it onto your bowl of soup. sprinkle with cilantro, then the tortilla chips and then lastly with your cheese.

dig in. literally.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


well, maybe i'm being a little dramatic. but it has been almost a month since my last entry. (back from the dead?) i've been juggling school and two jobs in which i haven't had a day off in 20 days.  i work at jake's grill doing banquet catering (it's a machine) during the week.  i then work at biwa on the weekends to complete/start the new week. the personal hygiene and eating thing has become secondary in all of this (maybe i am a zombie?). i actually told my roomates to not be modest in telling me if i look like a sickly and smelly thing, to take a shower and stuff food down my throat.

on the flip side of things, i think the major catering events are done for the season at jake's (no more multiple daily events of 500 people), which means i'm only getting at the most, one shift a week.  time to look for another job (i'm barely paying the bills people!). this also means, more recipe updates! i haven't cooked at home in probably 3 weeks, so get ready!

ooh, i should also mention that i completed my first term at oci (with flying colors)!  i started my second term last week and we started things off with egg cookery and breakfast dishes (which is good, because i always forget to eat breakfast. on the other hand, i also don't know how much more hollandaise i can eat.).  we move on to BEEF next.

yes, beef. finally. beef.

alright, i just got home from work and it is now 1am...i should probably go to sleep before i start to crave brains...

check back for an update this week!