Mittwoch, 27. Februar 2013

Fried chicken and homemade baked beans

 Today I made some food my "boys" really always liked the best. Food for big and hungry guys. Whenever son will read this he will cry for sure and feel homesick. Fried chicken with baked beans and roasted potatoes. 10.000 calories - maybe.

beans, potatoe with a little herbed quark, chicken drumstick
The chicken has to be cut into parts. I simply bought 4 chicken tighs with backs attached and separeted the drumstick part from the upper part. The pieces have to be soaked in 500 ml milk mixed with 1 teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons cajun spice mix (chilipepper, Paprika, pepper, thyme, dried onions, garlic) for 30 minutes.

After soaking, the drained chicken parts are simply tossed in flour with a little salt and again some spice mix. Best put everything in a plastic bag (closed after of course) and shake and knead a lot.

The parts, now nicely and completely powdered with flour, were fried at both sides in a good amount of oil (but not swimming as deep-fried, just a few centimeters oil will do) until golden, just don't forget to turn the pieces once in a while, and went into the oven for 25 - 30 minutes at 200 degree Celsius:  Placed on a baking sheet. After 10 minutes I brushed the parts with a little melted butter.  Usually the chicken are fried  first at higher than at a lower temperature in the big pan until done, but I think the oven method leads to more crispyness and the crust contains less fat. The chicken meat stays juicy inside but the meat will "melt" in your mouth.

One peek in the oven: chicken and potatoes
For the potatoes:
I boiled some waxy potatoes in their peel until nearly done, but still a little firm inside. Cut them into halves, brushed the cuts with a little oil (from frying) and sprinkled thyme, Paprika and salt, pepper. I placed the potatoes beside the chicken parts on the baking sheet. For serving I made a little bit quark mixed with milk, salt and chopped chives - a much leaner version of sour cream.

For baked beans:
I heated up 1/4 cup brown sugar and let 1 red onion (finely diced) caramelize in the hot sugar. I stirred in 1 good heaped tablespoon tomatoe paste and deglaced with a small can chopped tomatoes. I added a little salt, 1 teaspoon hot mustard powder, 1 can rinsed and drained white beans (530 g small beans). I stirred and let simmer over low heat until the liquid was fairly reduced - 30 minutes. Stirring once in a while is important to prevent burning and to check the amount of liquid. Finally I added more worcester sauce, some more salt, 1 teaspoon smoked chilipepper powder, 1 tablespoon treacle and about 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar. Yes I know, there are recipes where the beans are placed in a castiron pot and the simmering is going on in the oven but this preparation is way quicker. The result is the same.

For the vegetable side dish cabbage salad aka coleslaw:
 Just a few leaves chinese cabbage - shredded, 1 carrot - julienned, 1 celery stalk heart (the small young and tender inner stalks) sliced,  1 small red onion - finely sliced, tossed in a dressing made of 3 tablespoons yoghurt, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon mustard, pinch celery salt, salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar. I don't like soggy coleslaws so I add the dressing just before serving and not hours before.

Dienstag, 26. Februar 2013

Not baked sweet potato mochi - a sweet treat

My bad, my bad, I am back on making sweets - must be due to the weather. My body wants to gain fat. This is a very easy way to make mochi as sweet treat, because there is no pounding or beating involved. Just stir together and steam. It tastes the best while still warm and should be eaten the same day or the next.

Chewy mochi made of riceflour, coconut and sweet potato covered with kinako:

For the mochi you need:

1 sweet potato (purple variety with white flesh)
1 3/4 cup rice flour (sticky sweet rice)
1 3/4 - 2 cups water
100 g desiccated coconut flakes
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Peel the sweet potaoe and cut into dices. Steam dices until soft (Microwave 5 minutes). Mash roughly with a fork.
Cover coconut flakes with water and let rest for 30 minutes. Strain but keep the liquids. Add half of the flakes back to the water. Blend with an immersion blender until smoother.
Stir coconut water into the rice flour together with the sugar until well combined.  Add potato mash and sesame and stir in.
Place batter into a small round steam basket, layered with parchment paper and steam 30 minutes or until mochi is translucent white wobbly-sticky.
Flip mochi on a board covered with kinako and cut into cubes (wet knife) toss cubes in more kinako.

Cut open sideview:

And ripped:

Montag, 25. Februar 2013

What to do with leftover potato dumplings

Just a short one:
This may look a little strange, but I really love to eat leftover dumplings cut into slices and roasted in a pan (nonstick pan with a little oil) until crisp on salad. Just a small salad made of salad leaves, red onion and dressing. The salad sauce contains coarse dijon mustard, diet mayonnaise, honey, salt, pepper and a little white wine vinegar. I know diet mayonnaise tastes *yuk* but mixed with the other ingredients it is quite good.
For 1 person it takes one small Romano salad heart and 1 dumpling.

Sonntag, 24. Februar 2013

German pork roast with crisp crunchy crust and dumplings

Today I prepared a typical german pork roast with crunchy crust and potato dumplings, called Schweinsbraten und Knödel - if there is one dish everybody knows in Germany this is the one.

pork roast, crunchy, juicy and soft
And if there is something tourists cannot escape during their visits in Germany, it is also this traditional infamous pork roast. Every tourist trap in southern germany will serve it. In fact they are looking out for it - especially the chinese and american  tourists.

You need fat pork shoulder meat, skin on, and lots of time because this roast will take nearly 4 hours.
For our roast I bought pork shoulder without bones. There is no way to prepare a roast with less than the listed amount. Leftover roast can be cut into thinnly slices and tastes delicious in sandwichs with some mustard.

For the roast:

  • 1.5 kg pork shoulder, deboned
  • salt
  • Paprika
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coarse hot mustard
  • 1 liter chicken broth

Sauce base:

  • 2 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks or ½ small bulb
  • 2 bigger onions
  • 1 garlic glove, crashed
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 laurel leaves
  • 5 juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 bottle dark malty beer
  • 1 teaspoon arrow root starch, stirred with a little water
  • pepper, salt, Worcester sauce to taste

 First sprinkle the meat with a good amount of salt and rub it into the roast, put roast into a plastic bag and store it in the fridge overnight.
Next day pat dry and rub the meat side with a mix of Paprika, freshly ground pepper, ground allspice and coarse mustard.
Set it skin side down into a large roasting pan, filled with 1 liter hot chicken broth  – the broth should not cover the meat but the fatty skin side layer and a little meat.

Let roast in the oven at 130 degree Celsius  for about 1.5 hours.

Meanwhile prepare the sauce base:
Cut the vegetables (carrot, onion, celery) into rough pieces and roast them with the garlic in a heavy pan until nicely browned (roast marks). 
Caramelizing the sugar
Add  1 tablespoon icing sugar and let it  caramelize, stir in tomato paste and afterwards 1 bottle beer (330 ml), 1 teaspoon caraway seeds and two laurel leaves, juniper berries. 
Let this simmer vividly, until the liquid is reduced to half.
Base ready for use
 After 1.5 hours in the oven, lift the roast out of the pan and put it on a cutting board. Cut the skin part (skin and fat layer) into a checkered pattern (don’t cut into the meat below) or cut it into a  stripe pattern (pattern the size of the later meat slices). 

Roast after 1.5 hours - with pattern
Fill beer sauce to the remaining chicken broth into the roasting pan and place the meat back into it, skin side now turned upside. Switch heat to 160 degree Celsius and let the roast go for another 2 hours. Just let it roast, do nothing else.
After 2 hours place the roast on a rack in the middle of the oven, turn on the grill and let the upper side get crunchy in about 10-15 minutes, use the surround heating system running at 220 degree Celsius. When the crust is well roasted, crunchy and puffy, remove the roast and place it on a cutting board. Let sit a few minutes.

Right before slicing
Meanwhile sieve the sauce from the roasting pan (squeeze the vegetables a little to catch their juices), remove the fat (as much as possible) and let the sauce simmer until reduced to half. Thicken it a little with arrow root starch and adjust the seasoning with pepper, salt and a few drops Worcester sauce.


Prepare the dumplings while the meat is in it's last 30 minutes oven time:

  • 800 g waxy potatoes, soft boiled in their peel
  • 1 tablespoon seminola
  • 60 g starch
  • 3 egg yolks
  • good pinch salt
  • 1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 slice white bread
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon bacon cubes

Peel hot potatoes and mash with a masher until smooth (never blend them with an engine/blender), add starch, seminola and egg yolks, salt and nutmeg and knead into a dough by hand.
Cut white bread slice into tiny cubes and roast them together with diced bacon until nicely browned, add chopped parsley, sprinkle on a little salt - depends on the bacon.
Form a roll out of the dumpling dough, cut it into 8 slices, flatten the slices into discs, fill in a teaspoon bread and bacon, close and form ball shaped dumplings.  Bring 3.5 liter salted water (think pasta cooking) to a boil. Put dumplings into the boiling water and turn down the heat, let dumpling simmerr about 10 minutes over low heat, pot not closed by a lit. 

simmering the dumplings
Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon and set dumplings into a bowl were a small plate is placed upside down. The dumplings should never sit without the possibility to drain

As vegetables side dish I prepared simmered swede (some sort of giant yellow turnip), other name is Rutabaga, and carrot with damaszene plums. Swede is still not that well liked by lots of people since WWII, but this is sad. It is such a nice seasonal vegetable. It deserves a better treatment. My mother still hates it.
  • 1 swede
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 handful soft damaszene plums
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Salt
  • pepper

Peel swede and cut it into thicker sticks, peel 2 carrots and cut it into quarters lengthwise and cut the quarters into 2- 3 sticks.
Heat a tablespoon butter in a saucepan, add the vegetables and sautee for 3 minutes, add brown sugar and caramelize (swede needs sugar - it tastes a little bitter), add a cup of water and some salt, close lit and let vegetables simmer until nearly soft. Add damaszene plums, they will add some sweetness and stir. Let sit and keep warm until serving.
 Serve meat cut into slices with dumplings and vegetables and a good amount of sauce.

Husbands share
My share

Samstag, 23. Februar 2013

Oyaki - stuffed salty buns

Oyaki is a traditional dish from Nagano, Japan: Roasted over cast iron and baked or steamed buns made from buckwheat noodle dough and stuffed with different vegetable fillings.
The dough is made from flour, boiling water and a little salt. The filling depends on whatever is in storage.
For dough:
250 g wheat flour (allpurpose) should be mixed with part buckwheat flour but I had none
175 ml boiling water
1 pinch salt

Stir hot water with copsticks into the flour and knead crumbs and lumps into a smooth and elastic dough (10 min by hand). I made the dough in my kitchen engine: 5 minutes. Wrap dough in clingfilm and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer.

Meanwhile prepare filling:
Mushroom filling
4 dried shiitake
6 bell button mushrooms or oyster mushrooms or other  (125 g)
1 tablespoons sake
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 garlic glove
1 tablespoon chopped spring onion greens

Soak dried shiitake in water until soft, chop into small dices.
Chop 6 bell botton mushrooms into small dices, mince garlic glove. Heat up a little oil and sautee the mushrooms, garlic and spring onion greens until they start to release their liquids, add sake and soy sauce and simmer until all the liquid is gone / evaporated.
Set aside


egg plant - miso filling
1/2 eggplant (170 g)
1 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon red Miso
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce

Heat a little oil in a pan, fry eggplant until browned and soft, add sake, sugar, soy sauce, miso and stir until combined - don't heat it any longer.
 Set aside

Divide dough into 10 pieces by forming a roll and cutting it into equal slices.
With a rolling pin roll each slice into a disc (12 cm diameter).
Fill each disc with 2 teaspoons of filling, mushroom or eggplant. Close the edges over the filling by pinching and twisting the edges together and form a round flat bun.

Ready to be roasted
Heat up oil in a bigger pan and fry the buns on both sides until golden brown. Set buns on parchment paper in steamer and steam for 10 minutes over high temperature.

Roasted and steamed buns
Found the recipe in one of my japanese cookbooks: Endo Kaori: Japon cuisine intime et gourmande. Both husband and me liked the miso stuffed the most, addicting. Best to be eaten while still warm, but be a little careful: don't dig in right after steaming - the stuffing will burn your mouth for sure, I can tell you firsthand: 危ない.

Freitag, 22. Februar 2013

Milk Kanten Jelly and faked black sugar syrup

I didn't want to make something sweet again but I could not resist - I am weak...
Hiroyuki kindly introduced milk mochi with Kinako (ground sweetened soy beans) and black sugar syrup.
That reminded me on milk jelly, a fabulous lean japanese dessert, which I really like a lot especially with strawberries and strawberry syrup. So I made it today because I was so thrilled about the combination of milk pudding, toasted soy beans and black sugar syrup. I thought it would fit perfectly.

For milk jelly you need skimmed milk or mix whole milk with water (50:50).
500 ml skimmed milk (low fat of course)
1 teaspoon agar-agar (kanten)
1 tablespoon sugar

Boil milk until it rises, whisk in agar-agar powder and sugar, simmer on lower heat about 1 minute and fill in silicone "pudding" moulds (moulds best to be rinsed with cold water just before filling). I made enough jelly for 6 small moulds. It is really lean and nearly without calories, if the sugar is replaced by stevia powder. I always call it the Panacotta for fashion models... It can be spiced up with vanilla which is very nice with strawberries or you may simmer the milk with black tea and yogi tea spices as cardamom, cinnamon or add espresso, different tastes to your liking - but not with the following:

For the Kinako:
1/2 cup soy beans (dried not fresh beans)
1 tablespoon sugar

I toasted the soy beans in a heavy castiron pan until golden and fragrant (think roasting coffee beans, the soy beans should be moved by tossing and rolling around in the pan while roasting to toast the beans evenly and to prevent burn marks). This will only take a few minutes. Ground the hot beans together with 1 tablespoon brown sugar in a blender.

For black sugar syrup I had to improvise: I simmered brown sugar and water (50:50) until the sugar has been desolved and a thin syrup formed, added not the same but the half amount of thick treacle. I was quite sure I had muscovado (black sugar) in storage but did'nt found any, so I could not prepare the "real" black sugar syrup as Hiroyuki did. Guess Husband used the muscovado up for something as for his liquer making or cocktails. So I don't know if my fake syrup tastes the same as the real black sugar syrup or not, but it did taste very good.

Mittwoch, 20. Februar 2013

Quince-Tonkabean Soft Fudge

The last sweet entry for a while, I promise! 
I had some cream left, therfore this evening I cooked fudge.
Fudge-making the tradional way is not that easy, so don't be disappointed if it will not come out as planned.  Mine was also not that perfect as hoped for.
You need time and a good sugar thermometer. My sugar thermometer is very old school and after listening to some rude language along the way, Husband decided to buy me a digital one the next days.
For this fudge you need:
100 ml cream
150 ml milk
80 g salted butter
400 g sugar
2 tablespoons currants
50 ml quince gin
Small pinch, just a few crumbs, finely grated Tonka bean

Heat up sugar, milk, cream, Tonka bean and butter in a heavy deep sauce pan until boiling up, reduce heat to medium low and simmer while stirring about 8-10 minutes –from time to time measure the temperature, when the temperature reaches 115.5 degree Celsius, lower the heat to small and stir, try to stop the  temperature from falling under 110 degree Celsius and keep 110 degree Celsius– maybe you have to adjust the heat. Beat until the fudge is thick, creamy and golden about another 8 minutes, really beat it with a wooden spoon, but be careful not the touch the hot stuff. 
Meanwhile let some friendly soul heat up the currants in the microwave at 900W for 30 seconds.  Stir the hot currants (without liquid) into the fudge. Beat another minute and fill fudge into a small rectangle baking tin layered with parchment paper:

Let cool down and cut into cubes.
If too muddy after cooling, you did not reach the 115.5 C and if the mouthfeeling is sandy/grainy you overdid it (over 115.5), when too firm you have beaten it too long. Sometimes it can be fixed due to heating it up again, crumbled with 1 cup water added and following the same procedure: higher heat, lower heat- but no garanties.

Montag, 18. Februar 2013

Florentine biscuits

This evening I did some clearing of the kitchen storage spaces. Not something I like to do, but sometimes is has to be done. I have drawers loaded with baking ingredients, dried goods and these drawers tend to fall into a chaotic state just in a blink. Still getting worse whenever I peek into one of those. Today for example I found some nuts and seeds I did not use up properly, just some mere leftovers, due to some recipes calling for 125 g almonds, but bags are sold containing 200 g and such.What to do, I don't like to drop something into the bin which is still edible?! I decided on quick cookies, something without the need of much butter or eggs (have to restore these).

Florentine biscuits from leftovers
85 g  brown sugar
1 small tablespoon honey
70 g butter, salted
60 ml cream
100 g candied and dried fruits
150 g mixed nuts and seeds
25 g flour (1 tablespoon)

I chopped 70-80 g leftover nuts (almonds, walnuts) into slices, added 50 g peeled sunflower seeds (they were sold peeled), 35 g pine nuts  (just about 2 tablespoons), 2 tablespoons big sultanas, roughly chopped and candied orange peel of ½ bitter orange, diced into small cubes.
I heated up sugar, honey, salted butter and cream (for whipped cream), stirred until mixed welll and simmered this mixture until slightly amber coloured (maybe 4 minutes).
I added the nuts, seeds, candied peel, sultanas, 1 tablespoon flour and let this simmer a little more, while stirring until combined and glued together well (maybe 3-4 minutes).
With the help of 2 teaspoons I set little coin shaped heaps of this mix on parchment paper and flatted them with the back of the spoon, leaving as much space between the biscuits as possible.
I baked the biscuits at 190 degree Celsius about 8-10 minutes. They will spread a lot (trying to run away) building a very thin layer. One has to watch out for the caramel state: don’t ever let the biscuits get too dark. They should be quickly removed from the oven when the edges turn brown.
I let the biscuits cool down still sitting on the paper and baking sheet. As long as they are still hot it is possible to fix the shapes with an oiled round cookie cutter.
Meanwhile I melted some semi-bitter couverture (75 g also just leftover). I glazed the cooled down biscuits at the backside with melted chocolate, trying to paint a wave pattern. The cookies should be stored in an air tied container or they will lose their crunchyness really quickly.