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Picspam: Gyoza Wrappers from Scratch

I’ve been cutting back on my grocery shopping trips so when I had a craving for potstickers/gyoza, rather than going out and buying a couple of packages of the ready made wrappers, I finally buckled down and decided to make them from scratch using this recipe.

The ingredients are simple, flour and salt and boiling water. And time … to let the dough hydrate and to roll them out.

Pleating also takes some time and, of course, practice.

After all that, I’m quite pleased with the results for a first try and WILL be making them again.

Pasta for One: Pasta Carbonara

I revised my old carbonara recipe because I was inspired by a ‘saucier’ version I saw posted on FB yesterday. Pretty amazing, if I do say so myself.

Pasta Carbonara for One

90-100 gm dry pasta
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp bacon fat or olive oil
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided
pasta water, as needed, cooled slightly
3 strips of crispy bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
freshly ground black pepper
salt, to taste
dry parsley flakes

Time is crucial for a carbonara as it waits for no-one to be served.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Remove about a cup of the pasta water to a bowl and let cool slightly. Drain the pasta and reserve for a minute or two as the sauce is prepared.

In a small bowl, whisk together the yolks, bacon fat and 3 tbsp of Parmesan cheese. Whisk 2-3 tablespoon of cooled pasta water into the egg mixture, a tablespoon at a time.

Pour the carbonara sauce in a large saute pan and place on the stove over the lowest heat to barely warm up the sauce and melt the cheese but not enough to start cooking the egg yolks.

Add the drained pasta and the bacon pieces to the pan, toss with a pair of tongs until the pasta is well coated and everything is warmed through. If the sauce starts tightening up, add another tablespoon or so of cooled pasta water to the pan.

Plate and sprinkle the parsley flakes over the top. Add more grated cheese if desired.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

As close as I can get to an Irish meal to celebrate the occasion.

Corned beef brisket, colcannon and carrots.

I forgot to buy any beer but a nice pint glass of an Irish beer (is Harp beer good?) would be a nice accompaniment, I think. Dessert will be a slice of cran-apple pie though a piece of Irish “Brick” cake with some custard sauce might be more appropriate.

PS: I have some creamy potato-leek soup in the fridge but just wasn’t hungry enough to serve it.

Pasta For One: Pasta Alfredo

Continued from previous post.

Another pasta dish which is fast and easy to prepare and not that pricey, depending on the protein used.

Today’s post features shrimp and mushrooms. I like to pair a protein and a vegetable.

Basic Alfredo Recipe for One

90 gm pasta (fettuccine, linguine, spaghetti)
2 tbsp butter, extra virgin olive oil or equal parts of each
3-4 mushrooms, thickly sliced
100-125 gm raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh or dried parsley and more grated Parmesan for garnish

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large saute pan over medium high heat, add one tablespoon of butter and when it has melted and starts to bubble, add the mushrooms. Cook until golden brown on one side, turn and repeat with second side. Remove the mushrooms to a large bowl and reserve. Depending on how much butter remains in the pan, add a second tablespoon and when it melts, add the shrimp. Saute quickly, flipping over until both sides have begun to turn pink, then remove to the bowl with the mushrooms.

Add the minced garlic and saute briefly, stirring, until the garlic barely begins to pick up some colour, turn down the heat to medium and add the whipping cream and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the mixture starts to bubble, the cheese melts and the mixture begins to thicken. Add the cooked pasta, mushrooms and shrimp, stirring to coat with the Alfredo sauce.

Transfer to a plate and serve immediately garnished with some more grated Parmesan and parsley for colour.

Other options: chicken and asparagus or ham and green peas.

Christmas 2020 … Leg of Lamb Dinner

Christmas for One

I wasn’t going to do anything special this year cause I had a case of the Christmas blahs, but, at the last minute I bought a fresh leg of lamb and roasted it off with rosemary, garlic and olive oil. Threw in some diced potatoes and carrots as sides. Washed the meal down with a spiked (vodka) cranberry lemonade. Dessert was slices of a bought dark fruit cake. And, it was, on the whole, a good Christmas.



Because I had a lot of leftover meat (sliced lamb and salami), I baked off a quick batch of enriched (eggs, milk, sugar and melted duck fat) kaisers and hamburger buns for sandwiches.





Lunch plate of nibbles … bought cracker assortment, cheese (smoked Gouda and old white cheddar), Genoa and Hungarian salami and some apple slices (Ambrosia).



Regardless of the way you celebrate this time of year, I hope you were surrounded, virtually or in person, by friends and family (blood or choice).

And here’s hoping for a much better New Year.

Menchi Katsu (Japanese Fried Hamburgers)

Some years ago, I made the Hungarian fried burgers/patties/balls called “fasirt”. These panko breaded and fried Japanese hamburgers, or “menchi katsu”, reminded me of them. They’re flavourful and the coating seals in the moisture making for a juicy patty.

I found the idea and basic recipe for these burgers on my favourite Japanese Youtube channel, TabiEats. I’ll post my rewritten version of the recipe at the bottom of the page.

Menchi Katsu – serves 2-3
from TabiEats

Meat patties
150 gm onion, diced, sauteed and cooled
300 gm ground beef, pork or a mixture of the two
1/3 tsp salt
1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
pinch nutmeg, reduces smell of pork
couple of pinches of black pepper
1 egg

Coating
flour
1 egg, beaten
Panko

Side dish
thinly shredded cabbage
rice
sliced tomatoes

Combine ground beef with everything, except the sauteed onion, by hand until sticky. It will be a very soft mixture. Add the onions. Mix again for 3-5 minutes. If it seems too wet, you can add a bit of bread crumb but it shouldn’t be necessary.

Shape into 4-6 evenly sized patties. If the meat mixture is very sticky, you may oil your hands lightly to prevent that. Throw the meat patty from one hand to the other to firm up the patty by eliminating excess air.

Coat with flour (be gentle so the patty doesn’t fall apart), dip into beaten egg to coat and then generously roll in the Panko bread crumbs.

Shallow fry at 350 deg F about 2 1/2 min on each side.

(Strain and reuse the oil for stir frying.)

Serve with tonkatsu sauce, as part of a complete meal or “set”, or include in a bento lunch.

Delicious with a bowl of miso soup, a side of ramen noodles and steamed broccoli.

Chicken Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

In my last post about the rice burger options, I mentioned chicken karage, or “Japanese fried chicken”. Karaage is characterized by its very light coating of potato starch, or cornstarch or even just all purpose flour, before deep frying. It differs in that way from the heavier breading in that other, classic, fried Japanese dish, the cutlet or katsu. In Japan, skin-on chicken thighs are preferred for their juiciness and taste.

Knowing how much I don’t like frying, it took a long time to get psyched up enough to make this dish. And, it was mainly driven by the fact that I had made a batch of fried donuts earlier and wanted to use up the oil for a second time before recycling it. (But that’s another story.)

After watching some Youtube videos and researching a simple recipe that I thought I could manage, I finally did it. (PS: I passed on the recipe that required frying the chicken THREE times at differing temperatures. I wonder why?) This is the recipe I came up with after combining elements from several. I ‘borrowed’ the spicy mayo dip from the site cited.

Chicken Karaage – serves 2-4

4 boneless, skin on, chicken thighs (~1 lb/450 gm)
1/2-2/3 cup of cornstarch, or half cornstarch and all purpose flour
4 cups (~1 litre) vegetable oil, for frying

For serving

lemon wedges
mayonnaise, Japanese Kewpie mayo or Hellman’s are delicious

Chicken Marinade

3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sake
1 tbsp ginger juice (grate about 1-2 inches of fresh ginger and squeeze out the juice)
2-3 cloves of garlic, grated

Spicy Mayonnaise Dip/Sauce
recipe from the Just Hungry web site

1/2 cup of Kewpie Mayonnaise
3 tbsp Sriracha
3 tbsp soy sauce

Combine the dip ingredients and refrigerate.

In a large bowl, combine the marinade ingredients.

Cut up the thighs into fourths. Marinate the chicken thighs for at least 30 minutes, but less than 1 hr, as the salt in the soy sauce will draw out the moisture from the chicken and toughen it.

In a large bowl, add cornstarch. Drain each piece of chicken of marinade, one at a time, and evenly coat with the cornstarch. Shake off the excess cornstarch. Place coated chicken onto a clean dry plate and let dry for about 5 minutes before frying.

In a large container, suitable for deep frying, add the oil and preheat to 350 deg F. You want the oil level to cover the chicken by about an inch or an inch and a half.

Set up a plate with paper towels on it for draining/wicking the fat off the chicken before transferring the chicken to a wire cooling rack

When the oil is at the proper temperature, fry a few pieces of chicken at a time for 5-6 minutes total, turning after a few minutes. You want the chicken to be a golden brown colour and crunchy. Small bubbles may begin coming off the chicken as the fat in the skin begins to render out.

Remove the chicken pieces from the fat with a slotted spoon or wire scoop, shake for about 10 seconds to remove most of the oil and then place onto the paper towels for a few minutes, turning over to drain off both sides, then transfer to the wire rack.

Serve the chicken with a squeeze of lemon juice and dip into mayonnaise if desired.

I had some leftover karaage so I served it on top of leftover asparagus couscous with a drizzle of spicy mayonnaise on top.

Sushi Rice Burger a la Mos Burger

NEWSFLASH: The Japanese fast food chain, Mos Burger, serves a hamburger on a rice bun.

I first heard about this dish on the Youtube channel, TabiEats, and was intrigued enough to give it a try. Especially after seeing a similar dish that they made, a grilled cheese sandwich, using a rice bun in place of sandwich bread. Searching Youtube revealed many other people who had the same idea. The Tasty channel, for example, presented four different versions of such a burger including, chicken karaage, shrimp tempura, teriyaki salmon and shrimp cake. I hope to give some of them a try in the future.

The following recipe was inspired by the TabiEats channel and is a written account of how I made it.

Japanese Rice Burger a la Mos Burger – serves 1

Additional ingredients

cooked hamburger patty
slice of cheese
mayonnaise (Kewpie or Hellman’s or Miracle Whip salad dressing)
thinly shredded lettuce
ketchup
mustard
crispy bacon (optional)
sliced pickle (optional)

Rice Burger Buns – makes 2 x ~4-inch rice patties

1 1/2 cups hot/freshly cooked Japanese sushi rice
2 tbsp cornstarch, sifted to eliminate lumps
salt, to taste (~1/8 tsp)

In a medium bowl, add the freshly cooked sushi rice and sift the cornstarch over the top. Cut the cornstarch in with a wet wooden or silicone spatula so as not to mash the rice grains. Season with salt to taste.

Line a 1 cup ramekin with a sheet of plastic food wrap leaving a generous amount of overhang to be able to fold over the plastic wrap around the rice bun. Add half the rice to the ramekin, pressing down firmly to form into an even patty. Remove the rice patty from the ramekin using the pastic wrap as a sling. Wrap the excess plastic around the patty. Repeat with a fresh sheet of plastic wrap and the remaining rice. Refrigerate the two rice patties for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Preheat a large saute pan over medium heat and add a tsp or so of vegetable oil to the pan. With a folded paper towel wipe the oil over the pan, leaving just a thin coating behind.

Remove the rice patties from the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap and toast the patties in the preheated saute pan until golden brown on both sides. Transfer the patties to a plate and assemble.

Brush the inside of both rice patties with a bit of mayonnaise. Top one of the patties with shredded lettuce, slice of cheese, bacon, the hamburger patty, ketchup, mustard and pickles.

Place the second patty, mayonnaise side down, on top, and serve.

Pizza … and a Teaser

For spikesgirl58:

This is the pizza I made today. It was delicious. Just my usual pizza dough, frozen, thawed in the fridge overnight and baked today. I threw everything I had on top. Hot Italian sausages, spicy pepperoni, green pepper, mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese on a jarred portabello mushroom sauce.

And this is a Japanese orange Castella/sponge cake I made back in May. I’ve wanted to make a Castella cake for a while and this was the result. Because it’s a very simple, barely sweet, cake, it benefits from some garnishes. I had no fresh berries or mint so I put a scoop of French vanilla ice cream on top, warmed up some plum jam and diluted it with water and poured it over the top.

I really should do a proper post of this cake, one of these days.

Salisbury Steak a la Graham

When you make a recipe within a day of it being posted on a blog and love it enough to share the link, it must be a pretty good recipe.

And it IS.

I didn’t use any Kitchen Bouquet cause I didn’t have any but it’s just a matter of aesthetics anyway. Everything else is (mostly) the same. You might want to make three patties not two, unless you’re a very hearty eater.

 

REVIEW: Make it as soon as you can. You probably already have all the ingredients on hand. A few fresh mushrooms are a nice touch. I had some white button mushrooms so I diced a couple and added them to the Salisbury steak meat mixture. And a couple more to the mushroom-onion gravy. By the way, you’ll have a LOT of gravy. Enjoy it.