Thursday, March 20, 2008

One of my childhood comfort foods - Golden Curry

When I was 7 years old my family moved to Tokyo Japan. We lived there for three years. No, my dad was not in the military, he worked for a large corporation that had business overseas. I have never been back there since we moved away, but I would love to go back and visit. It was a rough time being 7 and moving across the globe, but my best memories are of the scenery and the food. Go figure that I didn't like sushi back then, but I consider it one of my addictions now.

I remember stumbling upon a store that had all imported Japanese products in it when I was in college. It was like a window into my past. Nowadays my local grocery store sells things like Pocky and Nishiki Rice. Recently I discovered that they also sell Golden Curry. My mother used to make this for my family when we lived in Japan and I love making it today. It is as much a comfort food to me as mac and cheese and mashed potatoes.

There is no recipe for me to post here. It's all on the back of the box. If you can't find this in your local grocery store, than look for your nearest Japanese grocer. I used chicken, potatoes, onions and acorn squash with this incarnation. You can add whatever you want to it. You just sweat the onions, throw everything else to the pot and add water. At the end you add the cubes of the Golden Curry and it thickens right up. The taste is very distinct, curries from different countries do taste somewhat different.

I hope to have more posts about the 5 years I spent overseas as a child. It's so distant, both by time and geography, but it's the old photos and memories of the food that remain. One day I may be able to go back, but for now I'll just try and find the food that brings me back.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Brown Sugar Cookies

I'm not sure what to write about these amazing cookies. They were delicious, chewy, deeply flavored and gone very quickly. If I had any complaints it would be that they were a touch too greasy. However, when brown butter is one of the star ingredients, I guess greasiness is hard to avoid. The cookies taste butterscotch-y and almost chocolatey, which threw me for a loop. How can something with no chocolate in it taste chocolatey? I'm thinking it's the burnt milk-solids in the brown butter along with the molasses in the brown sugar that make them so dark and rich.

The recipe can be found here if you have an online membership to America's Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated.

If you don't have a membership, then I apologize because I don't know if it's right to post the recipe when they want you to pay for it. My conscience says no so I will leave it out. But if you're considering paying the 4 bucks for it, I would say these cookies are worth it.

***EDIT*** the recipe can be found online here for free, and with only one very minor adaptation.

Now I just have to fight the urge to make four more batches and sit on the kitchen floor with Ian (my husband) drooling, shoving cookies in our mouths and snarling at the cat.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Goblin Pie (dealing with bad apples..)

So the apples weren't bad really. I just tried to experiment with baking and failed. I had a feeling it wouldn't turn out well, but forged on for the sake of experience. The result.. Well, less than photogenic. Pallid and kind of evil looking. I present to you, Goblin Pie!

Ugly, ain't he? This also shows some problems I'm having with photo-editing. I have a fancy new computer and monitor and I just can't seem to get the color right. I could drop over $300 to get some calibrating software, but instead I'll just complain about it here. I've been experimenting with converting NEF files and I am not liking the resulting web image. Oh well, I'll figure it out eventually.

The goblin pie didn't taste horrible, just a little bland and off-flavor. It was probably a combination of the apples I used and fiddling with the recipe. I won't go into it because it's just not necessary, and you really don't want to bother making that pie. However, it makes me want to go one step further and make a slimy green oozy pie that looks disgusting and tastes delicious. I am completely in favor of playing with food, so hopefully there with be a new and improved goblin pie in the future.

So, what do we do with bad apples?

We throw them in the pit, yarrrrr!!

(Maybe it's just me, but I think this looks like slimy appendages trying to escape from a pastry prison.. just in case you're sitting there scratching your head and thinking I'm insane. Who knows, you may be right.)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Delicious Meat Cubes! Who could ask for anything more?

I have been feeling kind of uninspired lately, at least food wise. I chalk it up to this time of year. Late February seems to be a month for hibernation and laziness. While I have been yearning to stay in bed 24/7, I have been really busy these past couple weeks. Anyway, enough excuses. I need to find a good rhythm with this blogging thing and I apologize for any lapses.

I was seeking some inspiration, and after staring blankly at my moniter for several hours, I grabbed Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking and paged through it. I was looking for something simple and tasty and decided to make "The Most Delicious Meat Cubes" and "Spinach with Ginger and Green Chilies". Well, it turned out to be less than simple as I had to make four stops at different grocery stores, It also took a really long time because I don't have a pressure cooker. It was very tasty though.

I'm not sure what the ethics are with food blogging. If you don't modify the recipe at all is it okay to type out a recipe from a book? Or is it better to just link to the book and summarize the recipe. I have seen it both ways I think. Anyone want to weigh in on that? Please comment if you have an informed opinion. For now I think I'll just summarize, just in case.

The meat cubes consisted of cubed pork shoulder that was slowly cooked with ginger, garlic, curry leaves, garam masala, turmeric, cayenne pepper and green chili with a squirt of lemon at the end.

The spinach had ginger and green chilies in it of course, with added garam masala, sugar and cayenne pepper.

I bought some frozen naan at my local Indian grocery store and kind of made a sandwich with everything. I actually thought that the meat and spinach tasted better together on the bread than they did individually. Definitely something to consider for lunches on the go if I can just figure out how to contain it better.