Monday Meals: 18-10-15 Hot Beverages

Hot Beverages

The above picture is of green tea. It is something I drink but rarely make for myself. My preferred drink is black tea with milk.

Occasionally this without the whipping cream.

What is your go to hot liquid? Are there any unusual things you like?


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Monday Meals: 18-10-1 Time Eating

For the purpose of this post I would like to discuss time eating. I put up a chart of how much time people spend eating per day. North America seems to be world leaders in speed. I wonder why that is. Why are other countries slower?

For Japan, I think some of the factors are probably the following. The food is piping hot so you wait for it to cool. It is hard to eat super quick with chopsticks. There is a lot of veggies so more volume. Also it is rude to eat too quickly.


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Monday Meals: 18-9-24

(BTW, today is a holiday in Japan. We take equinoxes seriously. )


Photo from here.

Pasta

This hopefully will be a discussion thread.

Excepting for bread, I don’t think there is another food is so manipulated as pasta. Even though it can come from the same ingredients, I believe the taste is different. That doesn’t make sense but it is true because the shape determines the amount of sauce in the bite.

  1. Do any of you make your own pasta? If so what kind?
  2. What is your favorite shape of pasta?
  3. What is the most unusual shape that you have cooked?
  4. What is your go to sauce?

UPDATE:Can anyone name all the pasta shapes in the picture on this post?

Monday Meals: 2018-09-17

Twice Cooked Pork

Twice cooked pork: ingredients

A classic dish in Szechuan Chinese restaurants is Twice Cooked Pork, a spicy stir-fry with pork and crunchy vegetables that combines interesting favours and textures with enough heat to wake up your taste buds (and, depending on the restaurant, make your eyes water).

There are several styles of this dish, and the traditional way of preparing it is somewhat time-consuming and fussy. If you’ve read my other recipes, you know that’s not for us. Here is a variant where the “first cooking” is done when you make our Chinese Roast Pork and the leftover meat from that dish is the starting point for this one. If you consider this inauthentic, that’s because it is! If you like, call it “Twice Crooked Pork”! It’s still delicious, quick and easy to fix, and can’t fail.

Continue reading “Monday Meals: 2018-09-17”


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Monday Meals 18-9-10

I seemed to forget where I placed this image every time our Esteemed 10 Cents posted his “Monday Meals” posts.

But I found it and I’m trying to beat him to it as it’s a little before 7 A.M. where he is at.

“Monday Meals” are Great! but you can’t have a meal without a liquid.

So without further ado, may  I present a “liquid”.

Continue reading “Monday Meals 18-9-10”


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Monday Meals: 18-9-3

Airlines Food

Picture from here.

The best food I had on an aircraft was bibimbap on Korean Airlines. What made it so good is the hot spicy sauce in the tube. It is red and makes the rice and vegetables come alive. Of course this was for pleasure. When I fly for Ratburger.org I usually pick from the services in the below video.

What have been your “high” cuisine experiences? (Is that “haute”, Blumroch?)


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Monday Meals: 18-8-27

Iced Coffee

The days are hot and humid in the Land of the Rising Sun. One needs something to cool and refresh. What I like is a cup of iced cold java with milk. This is easy to make even Mike can do this. (By Kenny Louie from Vancouver, Canada – Blue Bottle, Kyoto Style Ice Coffee, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2433582)

 

 Luckily, they sell bottled coffee by the 900ml-ish. This brand is Georgia which is the Coca-Cola brand but UCC, AGF, or Nescafe is okay too.  Buy a liter of milk. This one says it is “delicious milk” from Meiji. I usually but in half coffee and half milk then add the ice. Aaaaah!!

What is your summer cooling drink?


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Monday Meals, August 20: Mom’s Meatloaf

As of late Saturday evening, I’ve been visiting my 80-year-old mother, who is recovering from a severe broken leg (eight weeks ago, spiral break of the femur just above the knee — plate and ten screws).  My mom is in remarkably good shape, and is actually a couple weeks ahead of schedule in her recovery, having been allowed to put 40lbs of foot pressure on the leg this week.  She’s still homebound (no stairs allowed), but there’s light at the end of the tunnel now.

Anyways, my mom and I fell into an informal tradition years ago where she would make me a tuna-fish casserole, 70’s retro-style (corn flakes on top instead of crushed potato chips), any time I’d visit, after once expressing delight (actual) when she made it.  Apparently, I’m the only one of her seven children that is fond of it.  I live outside of Atlanta, and she’s in the woods of Western Maine, so it doesn’t happen all that often.  I fully expected her to make one for me on Sunday, to be the subject of this post.  It didn’t happen — she can’t do her own groceries, and the last sibling to do so failed to note that mom had cleaned out her tuna supply. /-:

The fallback plan was her low-carb meatloaf recipe:

Continue reading “Monday Meals, August 20: Mom’s Meatloaf”


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Monday Meals: 2018-08-13

Chinese Roast Pork

Chinese roast pork: ingredients

This easy to make, can’t fail meal combines a variety of Chinese seasonings with tender, delicious pork, and will provide you with several meals including an entirely different recipe for the leftovers which I’ll present eventually in a sequel to this post.

Continue reading “Monday Meals: 2018-08-13”


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Monday Meals: 18-8-6

Japanese Spaghetti: Curried Rice

I think of spaghetti as something you can make simply for a few people or many. The pasta is made then a sauce is added. Japanese eat spaghetti but there quick spaghetti-like meal is curried rice. Anyone can make rice so adding curry to the side of it is easy.

The above picture is from a curry restaurant chain called, Coco Ichibanya. I would call this a type of Japanese fast food. The menu is rice with curry with various toppings such as vegetables or meat. The picture has a pork cutlet. I haven’t gone there very often but when I have gone it is mostly men that eat there.

If you eat curry at home there are three ways to make it.

The first way is:
In the box is a foil pouch that you put in boiling water. After a few minutes you take it out and open the pouch to pour the contents out.  Rice. Pouch. Eat.

 

 

 

 

The second way is:
Inside this box is “a chocolate bar” of curry seasonings. One cooks potatoes, carrots, onions, meat, etc then add some pieces of the “chocolate bar” for the quantity you have made to make the curry.

 

 

 

The third way is:
This is more the scratch method. You put in your own curry spices then your vegetables and meats.

 

 

 

 

 

Japanese curry is different from Indian curry. It came to Japan from English influences and is milder and creamier.

Have you had or made any curry recently?


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Weekly Posts Sign-up August 2018

A new web site needs a lot of varied content. There are three weekly posts to get people talking about food, sports, and photos. The post can be as long or as short as you want.

Have fun and create!

Monday Meals
8-6 10 Cents
8-13 John Walker
8-20 Phil
8-27

Wednesday Sports

8-1 10 Cents
8-8 jzdro
8-15 9th
8-22
8-29

Photo Friday

8-3 10 Cents
8-10 10 Cents
8-17 10 Cents
8-24
8-31

Monday Meals: Sorrel Soup

The darn stuff is so easy to grow. Find a catalog that offers it, prepare the ground, bung the seeds in, and have patience. Growth is slow compared to that of some of the lettuces, for example, but then you see it is slow to bolt, as well.

A delightful sour taste is the outstanding characteristic of this pot-herb. I’d long used it as a minority leaf in a salad bowl, just for the lemony sour accent. This year, the crop was abundant and I had the time, so I whacked off half a row and brought it in.

The chosen starting point was an online Martha Stewart recipe. At Launch, I hauled out a cauldron, melted butter in it, and added a nice little pile of minced white onion. Those pungent little bits softened up in 5 or 10 minutes while giving up their tear-inducing sulfur compounds.

While that was happening, I cut up sorrel leaves into thin strips. Addition of those strips to the onion was Stage 2. The ratio of leaves to broth was to be 1:2. I had quite a pile of leaves; adding 3 cups at a time, the result was 12 cups of raw, sliced leaf material requiring 24 cups of broth. That used up my leaves, which was a prime object.

It seemed like an outrageous volume of leaf material, but it cooked down to a smaller volume, like spinach and other greens.

At this point, leaf color changed from bright, clean green to dead-turtle-in-a-puddle tint. Can you guess why I was not distressed in the least by this?

The reason was the fragrance. Simultaneous with the color change was the release of many volatile fragrance molecules. It was lemon perfume time, all through the kitchen.

All was ready for Stage 3, addition of the broth. This time I had some turkey broth and some beef broth, qs to 24 cups with an aqueous solution of vegetable bouillon paste from a jar.

I added no salt or additional herbs, the object being to see what these things would do.

Generally, soup is very much better a day later, what with flavors melding and all that, but today immediate progress to Stage 4 was a gratifying move. Into each flat soup plate I ladled the sorrel soup and schlagober-ed a goodly blob of crème fraîche.

The soup was a bit salty, probably from the jarred veg base, which I will mix up at 80% of label-directed concentration next time. Stirring the crème fraîche around in it mitigated that defect without masking the delightful lemony sour taste. In fact, the creaminess and the sourness complement each other nicely.

How the stars do align on occasion. Recently I studied a Polish language lesson on the theme of food and dining. The hilarious dialogue was between two people, out for dinner, ordering zupy szczawiowej. And now here it was, the sorrel soup.

When I was a little kid, simpering around with my hair in a pony tail, the relatives took me along on their summer trip to a vacation lodge in Middle-of-Nowhere, Outer Farmworld, run by recent Polish immigrants. Hot cream soup on a 95-degree day thrilled them all but revolted me! Now the stuff is delicious, and we enjoy it on our farm. Perhaps it is the operation of something atavistic.

Smacznego!


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Monday Meals: 2018-07-23

Raclette

Raclette is a quintessentially Swiss dish whose origins date as far back as those of the country (a.d. 1291).  Although cheese fondue is often considered the national dish of Switzerland, many Swiss consider Raclette more authentically Swiss, since fondue is equally popular in adjacent regions of France.

Raclette: The Cheese

The word “Raclette” refers both to the kind of cheese used in the dish and the dish prepared from it.  Raclette cheese is traditionally made from raw grass-fed cow’s milk and is semi-hard (pâte mi-dure) with a relatively thin, edible, rind and few, if any, holes.  It is aged only three to six months and has no blue inoculation.  (Today, most raclette cheese made in Switzerland is  produced from pasteurised milk, but in the canton of Valais, it must be made from raw milk to be called Valais Raclette.)

Non-traditional raclette cheese may have added flavouring such as garlic, sliced peppercorns, paprika (all seen commonly) and more exotic innovations such as onions, truffles, bits of bacon, and herbs.  I’ve even tried raclette cheese made from goat’s milk, but it worked poorly.

Raclette cheese is usually produced in rounds whose size varies from one producer to another.  A typical modern round is around 5.5 kg, and is often sold in half-rounds of around 2.7 kg.  You can also buy square blocks cut from these rounds of around 500 g or slices from these slabs; we’ll see how these are used below.

Raclette de Valais: demi-ronds

What is common to all kinds of raclette cheese is that when heated, it melts into a creamy consistency without separating into fat and milk solids like some other cheeses.  This makes it ideal for Raclette, the dish, which we’ll now examine.

Raclette: The Dish

Tradition has it that cow herders in the mountainous regions of Switzerland would, when moving their herds among Alpine pastures, carry with them, for their meals, a half round of raclette cheese and some potatoes or bread, all of which keep well without refrigeration.  In the evening, after starting their campfire, they would bring the round up to the fire so its heat would begin to melt the exposed part of the half-round, then scrape the melting cheese onto slices of bread or potatoes which had been boiled over the campfire.  Racler is the French verb “to scrape”, and the word “raclette” comes from scraping the melting cheese from the heated round.

Today, few people build a campfire to enjoy raclette (although, if you have one, why not?).  Instead, some people and restaurants use an electric heater with a half-round of cheese or a block cut from one.

Raclette: electric heater

You rotate the cheese round under the heater, hold the plate below the lower end of the round, and scrape the melting cheese onto the plate with a knife.  If you’re a purist, special knives are available, with one side for scraping and the other for cutting the rind for those who (being also purists) prefer it with their cheese.  Between servings, rotate the cheese away from the heat so it doesn’t dribble (much) onto the platform below.

This is typically how raclette is prepared in restaurants or at festivals such as the Désalpe de Lignières.  With today’s small families, a 2.7 kg half-round or even a 500 g block is a lot of cheese for one sitting, and the most popular way to serve raclette at home is with slices and a raclette/grill apparatus.  That’s what we’ll use for the meal below.

Raclette: The Meal

Let’s make a raclette dinner.  Here are the ingredients.

Raclette: Ingredients and grill

For one or two people, you’ll need around a kilogram of “new” potatoes.  These are often sold in Switzerland as “Raclette” potatoes, but elsewhere choose small potatoes with a thin skin (which you cook and eat) that don’t  disintegrate into mush when you slice or mash them after cooking.  In French such potatoes are called «chair ferme»; I don’t know the phrase in English, but most new potatoes (as opposed to the big ones with thick skins for baking) are of this kind.  Don’t peel them; we’ll cook and eat them with the skins on.  The skin has much of the flavour and vitamins of the potato.  If the potatoes are dirty, wash them.  (New potatoes you buy in Switzerland are almost always washed, but if yours aren’t, scrub them under running cold water.  “Don’t eat dirt—dilutedilute!”)

Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover the potatoes (but don’t add them yet), add a bit of salt (or omit, if you wish), and bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, add the potatoes (gently; you don’t want to splash the boiling water on the stove or yourself) and boil for 15 minutes or until you can push a fork into a potato without encountering a hard centre.  Once the water comes up to a full boil after adding the potatoes, you can reduce the heat until it’s just boiling; once water is boiling, adding heat only makes the water boil away faster and doesn’t raise the temperature or cook the potatoes any quicker.  (If you’re at seriously high altitude, you may have to increase the cooking time.  I find 15 minutes works fine for anywhere from sea level to Fourmilab’s altitude of 800 metres.)

While the potatoes are boiling, set up the raclette/grill apparatus and the accessories.  Usually, with a dinner for multiple guests, you’ll put it in the centre of the table.  Connect to electricity, turn on, and set to the highest temperature initially to heat up to operating temperature (this takes a while—I usually turn on the grill about half way through boiling the potatoes).  Make sure there is nothing flammable or prone to melting near the grill.  Set out butter, salt and pepper, complements such as cornichons (small cucumber pickles) and pickled onions, and innovative condiments such as hot sauce, jalapenos, bacon salt, sour cream, and whatever else you fancy.  Some people serve cold cuts such as ham or sausage with raclette, but I find that a bit much: cheese and potatoes are very filling all by themselves.

Once the timer for the potatoes goes “bing”, it’s time to eat!  Turn off the heat on the potatoes, but leave them in the water; this will keep them warm during the meal in case people want second or third helpings.  Invite diners to pick four or five potatoes from the pan onto their plates with kitchen tongs and take them to the table, where they can lightly mash them with butter, salt and pepper, and if utterly decadent, sour cream (you want to mash into pieces, not a uniform starchy continuum).  Meanwhile, they’ll have chosen a slice of cheese from the variety you’ve set out (I usually provide an assortment of classic, pepper, garlic, and paprika), put it into a pan («coupelle») and placed it into the raclette/grill.  With the grill up to temperature, it will only take around a minute for the cheese slice to melt to a creamy consistency.  After you start the meal, you’ll probably want to reduce the grill temperature so the cheese doesn’t melt more quickly than a diner can finish the previous slice.  Take some of the pickles and onions and enjoy their crunchy contrast with the melted cheese and potatoes.  You can see the rind in the melted cheese in the picture below; this is how raclette is traditionally served.

Raclette: ready to serve

Innovators may enjoy putting a spritz of hot sauce on top of the cheese before they put it into the grill, or topping it with a slice of tomato, onion, bits of bacon, or whatever comes to mind.  Innovators…always making trouble!

Raclette is traditionally accompanied by light, fruity Swiss white wines such as Fendant, made from the Chasselas grape.  Teetotalers usually choose tea with raclette.  Conventional wisdom is that cold drinks such as water and diet toxic sludge may cause the cheese to harden into a bolus which can only be extracted by surgery or a plumber’s snake, but I know of no hard evidence for this. Consider yourself warned.

Cleaning Up

There is very little cleaning up after a meal of raclette, regardless of the number of people at the table.  You’ll probably have potatoes left over.  Pluck them from the now-cooling water and put them into a frigo container (the Fourmilab term of art is “white box”, as in “white box dinner”) and, after they come to room temperature, bung them into the frigo.  Leftover cheese should be tightly wrapped in aluminium foil and refrigerated.  It will have been inoculated with airborne nasties while on the table and will begin growing green hairy cruft after a week or so; be sure to use it before this happens.  The pickles and onions can be returned to their jars and the condiments returned to the refrigerator; they’ll keep almost forever—they’re more patient than your appetite.

One little-appreciated property of raclette cheese is that however crusty it has become when heated, after a few minutes in warm water it softens and is easily wiped away.  After you remove the potatoes from the cooling (but yet warm) water, throw in the cheese melting pans, scrapers, and utensils, wait about ten minutes, and with a quick swipe with the scrubber they’ll be ready to throw into the dish grinder, which will do the work Swiss people won’t.

The best thing to do with leftovers is encore raclette!  Not the next day, but a day or two later, and maybe for lunch.  Now, you don’t necessarily want to haul out the whole apparatus, so you might consider the Fourmilab innovation I call nuclette.  Take a small bowl, place one or two leftover potatoes in it; mash lightly, add a little butter, place a slice of leftover raclette cheese on top, cover with a plate and place in the microwave.  Nuke it for one or two minutes, et voilà, almost authentic raclette.  Add salt and pepper, stir it up, and enjoy.  Repeat if you remain peckish.

If you have entirely too many potatoes left over, consider making Fourmilab’s Can’t Fail Potato Salad from them—they’re already cooked, so it’s just a matter of minutes to prepare.

Bon appetit!

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Monday Meals: 18-7-16 Jaga Bata

Be it summertime, I figured I’d talk a bit about on of my favorite matsuri foods. A matsuri (祭) is a festival in Japan.  Most towns from the smallest to the largest have festivals, which are usually during the summertime.  Accompanying the festivities are food booths with various tasty attractions.  One of my favorite happens to by jaga bata. Jaga bata is a deep fried buttered potato.  The name is a portmanteau of jagaimo (potato) and bata (butter).

Jaga bata is often topped with just butter.

Jaga bata
Jaga bata, lightly fried with only butter.

Many people, myself included, like to put mentaikomayo along with the butter on the jaga bata.  Mentaikomayo is mentaiko (spicy, fermented fish roe) and mayonnaise.  It gives the jaga bata a creamy, spicy quality.  So delicious.

Jaga bata with mentaiko
Deep fried jaga bata with mentaiko and a bit of corn.

If you are ever at a Japanese matsuri, I highly recommend you seek out and try jaga bata with mentaikomayo.


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