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Tempura-s Rising!

17 Apr

*I am a frequent Netflix streamer*   This invention is my means to finding the quirky movies and shows from the past (and often new discoveries).  I was hyper that I could get the brit*coms I don’t have on DVD (!flipped-out!), but lu-urve the evolving queue of interesting finds!   The latest wave of reminiscing and obsessions comes courtesy the highly innapropriate animated  cartoon Shinchan and his status and gender mixing group of friends!  Sooper hilarious and over the line fun but guess what–!?! The animators and even the story lines give due attention to food and specific, detailed dishes, which contrast the shorts often gross and crude banter and situations.   Also, I appreciate the attention to the economic creativeness on the part of Mitzi (mom). Viewers are witness to her whipping up filling and abundant meals despite her husbands tiGHt (struggling) salesmans salary and crazy coupon/sale sprints- fitting subject matter for most households at this time ;-s!  Watching a few seasons in succession has only served to put me in a New “Wok” state of mind…  O.K.-bad pun try there but I am SO excited because not only is this a very fitting homage- due to my attraction to Japanese pop culture and kitsch-I have a lot of collectables.  Much of it comes courtesy my big sis Anna C. (Shout out to mah MoNStEr SiStAH!$!$)  Over the years she provided much of my Hello Kitty knick knacks [Her and Lisa Loeb should really meet-AHahaH Ya’ll could have when she performed at the campus!!!. I just happend to be passing the auditorium and she was rehearsing with her orchestra.  I was in awe; she has such a great artist with a beautiful voice:) 

This will be great practice and much needed “structured cooking practice time” as I am supposed to add more of .  So the good student will begin with cooking shellfish (which I never do), and I’ll probably make a rice dish as well(which, besides bread and pasta, is the staple starch I nosh the most¤).  Plus I get to break out the Wok!!! 

First try at tempura and "mochigome"!!

Tempura:

1 TBSP seasoned rice vinegar; 1 TBSP garlic rice vinegar; 1/2 tsp lemon pepper powder; 1 C mixed veg (brocco, cauli, carrot, sweet baby corn); 1 C (7-9) peeled, deveined tail-less shrimp, 1 C Tempura batter stirred with 1 C Ice cold water;

I served my tempura bunch accompanied by my version of sticky Japanese rice with chicken and green onions.  I made the sticky rice with instant boil-in-bag long grain cooked the day before with the chicken, chilled in fridge overnight.  The rice has had a chance to chill and soak up the starch from the previous boil and, since chilled, will get that nice cripsy outside and tender inside.  I tossed the cold rice in the Wok last, after tempura fry, with chicken, egg, and sprinkle of chopped green onion-Yum!!!

 PARTY!PARTY! Join Us-Join Us Shake your Tail When You Can!PARTY!PART-AY! 8-P

(flickriver.com) Shin-chan Bento!

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Random Free Time and a hearty meal!

13 Mar

So I find myself mentally rambling about the contents of the kitchen.  Having the forethought to defrost some steaks before the weekend I decide to stop waffling and have a go at them.

I basically let into these cuts to remove the silver skin and tendon which is tough and lousy to get a chew on while your trying to enjoy a bite of Honey Cheddar Steak 🙂 I am now going to favorite a new sauce, Brianna’s Fine Salad Dressings, the Chipotle Cheddar Salad Dressing which I originally purchased as a dressing for the monterey jack chicken subs (with bacon and not as an option), but do take label suggestions and will put this to use for a different play on my usual marinade.  The honey gave it the sweet base I like and cuts the spice because although this sauce is tagged “mild” the chipotle sneeks up on you, right in your throat!

Roasting in oven and awaiting the first aroma of sugary spices wafting from the kitchen…and then it hits.  I absolutely adore the smell of roasting meat and how the air is coated with this gravy like glaze and my stomach grumbles at the promise of fork tender meat and flavor on my tongue! Uuunggh…[Homer Simpson drool]

So it comes out of the oven and by this time I need to~!EAT!~ not set up the shot, sorry.  No sooner made than devoured.  Sometimes I think to myself “I need a personal photographer”, but that would defeat the purpose of my interest in the food staging industry! That does mean that unfortunately, some works are more prone to be eaten before showcasing final product-but that’s okay.  As I say, there’s always the opportunity to revisit a project; food shouldn’t always be about innovation (that’s why we have the terms comfort food and classic)~so photo opportunities still await!  Anyway, I shred apart and pile on some sub rolls with monterey jack cheese slivers to satisfy famished bellies after work.  The rest I save to enjoy, hot or cold, on top of some cold crisp lettuce later.  Doesn’t the saying go The best way to get someone to eat veggies is to add meat (or bacon), (or butter), (or cheese), or…something like that!?![TIC]  Well, the meat is marinade-moist and needs no extra sauce unless you just need to apply a condiment when you eat.  Plus, sans the sandwich spread, you get that tasty ~sauce-gloss~ to your lips from the natural  juices of the meat¤

Do a Doughnut

22 Dec

∞Why don’t movie theaters sell doughnuts as part of the concession treats?  If there are I would love to know about them.  Sure there are those like Studio Movie Grills, but those are actually serve and dine movie experiences.  I’m suggesting just a cycling of offerings that appeal to a variety of snack preferences and textures.  Maybe this can get to be expensive, which may be why most chains have not changed their inventory preference for years. Only one theater I’ve ever visited served more untraditional items at the snack bar- Harkins in Southlake where my sorority sister worked.  Our mutual love of movies led to bonding time at the shopping square surrounding this theater for eating at the Cheescake Factory or the Tuscan Grille and enjoying that employees and their guests watched films for free 🙂  They sold french fries, chicken wings, mozzerella sticks, popcorn chicken, pizza, and more!!!   So there is hope for institutional diversity after all, even if currently inaccessible to your relative geographical position.  

Well, I got a yearning for some around the holidays and decided to take some donut holes as a snack for the long train ride home.  I found this quick and easy recipe http://www.howtomakeityourself.com/easy-donut-doughnut-holes-in-5-minutes/, and as I had some pancake mix on hand I was good to go!  The wheat mix has a sweetness to it that I played up with chocolate milk and dusted with confectioners sugar to finish, which melted to a glaze as they rolled about inside the warm ziploc bag.  I made a good decision and will definitely be making again 🙂

Thanksgiving Ambition

22 Nov

My favorite holiday is upon us. Thanksgiving, a day centered around the meal-my kind of day!!! My mother, and myself when I entering the teaching field, always used the wonderful story of Stone Soup to teach children the basic concept of this holiday: working together and the bounty that can be enjoyed if all contribute and consider others that have need as well. The children bring one item that can be added and we feast as a class on the big pot that we all made from our separate individual items; any extra we donate along with the other collected items for local shelters. We use meatballs as stones even though some kids get a little hesitant to dine on “rocks”!  I’m not into complicating the planning side-I hate when holidays turn into more fuss than festive, so my contribution will be a small turkey (about 8 lbs.) and I will make a chocolate chip peanut pie from scratch, crust and all! Hey I figure I only have two dishes not an entire feast to pull off so I can concentrate on perfecting my two major contributions: the main protein and a dessert. That’s really all I’m concerned with 🙂
I have only helped with the turkey when growing up but I try not to let any cooking project scare me. I’ve done my research, compared some shows, cookbooks and magazines, and am just ready to thaw and get to work! I don’t care for dressing or stuffing but sage is the smell I connect to Thanksgiving in my house. I would often just smell the little canister while hanging out in the kitchen with mom, LoL. Since I won’t be making dressing but want that smell to permeate my home, I am making a butter-sage herbed turkey. The butter should crisp my skin mmmm crispy bird skin, drool… so that was a good tip from Sandra. I also wanted a moist turkey but the brining process Martha did on her show, while not overly complicated, just adds more prep and steps and I’m just concerned with maximizing taste and texture as easily as possible. I will cook it low (my oven tends to cook high at stated temp), slow and covered to seal in moisture. I know you shouldn’t leave things to chance but I highly doubt in my efforts to cut time and steps that I will mess up this bird, regardless of how casual I seem in regards to planning and execution (reassuring mom at this point)!
As far as pastry is concerned, I have done my share with my mothers guiding hands more than my own.  But I am not shying away from this challenge either.  Baking in general is the one area I did not gravitate to in cooking originally.  I figured as long as box mixes were on the market, I’d be fine if I needed a sweet fix.  Lately, however, I have decided I will no longer place limits on my kitchen adventures so I will, from time to time, attempt to create something entirely from scratch.  I used chilled butter and a Crisco shortening stick, which made the dough really soft and pliable to handle. 

The Chocolate Peanut pies were de-li-cious! I began by making rude craters with a soup spoon, straight into the pie I was keeping for myself, warm from the oven and my tummy grumbling from the energy exerted wrestling with that turkey (yes I made my pies that morning-I told you I was not obsessing). Then later, vanilla ice-cream and warm pie become puddled into this steamy hot chocolate sundae in just two layers of hot and cold… melty ice cream running cool rivers into the gooey hot chocolate/wobbly sugary custard/caramelized toffee-like top glaze/flaky soft crust. I will make these again:P  I instantly realized this crust would also work well for a turkey pot pie, next project.  I also realize I didn’t get a pic of the cooked pies before they were gone:( but will next time I make:)!

……….

Having given my turkey at the least 24 hours at the bottom of my fridge, it was still too frozen to do anything else but wrestle with it under water and massage it until it was thawed.  A few calls and texts to mom and things were sorted out and I commenced to roll up my sleeves and get to the task at hand. 

About an hour or so later I had extracted all the inner sacks, relaxed the bird from its frozen extremities to its hollow cavities and was now ready to season cover and cook.  While this mistake caused the need to periodically check on the turkey between trips to peoples homes, the pickups and drop-offs along the way, this also provided me the excuse to slip away and have a little “me” time while catching some holiday T.V. moments in quiet comfort!  

Even with no ties turkey moist meaty and inside-and I got my crispy skin too!

For my first turkey I have to say I did excellent, timing issue duly noted but not a complete disaster considering my nonchalance at the entire undertaking and holiday as a whole.   And even though it was enjoyed much later than planned mealtimes, it was enjoyed!

Cinnamon Roll Fixation

15 Nov

So I had been craving a Cinnabon, a staple from my midwest childhood and frequent mall treat even when I moved down south! Then I moved to a town where I couldn’t find one anywhere close, even the local Arby’s, the company that bought many of them and placed them in selected stores, except where I currently lived. I found one in a nearby town, the catch being I would have to drive at least 45 minutes. I figured on a perfect day for a quick road trip I would try. So I did and upon arrival was met with flies buzzing around and a less than enthusiastic employee texting  lazily on the counter. The buns looked like they might have sat for most of the afternoon-why wasn’t there some sort of case or covering!?! Ugh!!! I was a little hesitant to buy but kept thinking I just drove 45 minutes and not to go home empty handed and the next option is about 2 hours plus away to the far east! I had no other business in this town but the ‘bon, so I reluctantly bought one, not wanting to acknowledge my own dissapointment at having to ride nearly an hour just for this one cinnamon roll and bing met with such dismal. To sum it up, I took the sad bun with semi-crusty icing home (not creamy-crusty!), set it in the microwave, then the fridge that night, then threw it out the next day…I couldn’t get the thought of those flies buzzing around and potential fly juice and footprints in that semi-crusted icing out of my head. I still craved a good cinnamon roll so last night I decided, no matter what, I was making myself cinnamon rolls the next morning.
I wanted to make them with the most balanced melange of icing and pastry because I hate not having enough icing for my roll, especially if the dough tends to be on the dry or tasteless side.  So I eighty-sixed the inside butter spread and used the icing instead:-)

Soft, sweet dough (I add vanilla to my milk here)-I get really excited when cutting the fragile fleshy roll and seeing the swirl appear with each layer. Creamy icing, inside and out. Sugary sweet cinnamon insides. 15 mintes at 450* and my need is satisfied:-)