Brocolli Ochazuke
Tuesday, October 11, 2005, 05:37 PM - comfort food, breakfast
menu
For breakfast we had frozen berries with grapenuts, lunch was more cold pizza; and dinner was ochazuke.

recipes

frozen berries with grapenuts
Put frozen mixed berries in a bowl. Top with a roughly equal amount of grapenuts. Pour coffee over the top... this sounds like it might be a little weird but trust me; I'm a recent convert myself. Don't drench it in coffee, just put enough coffee on that the grapenuts soak up coffee. There shouldn't be any actual liquid in the bowl. Microwave it a bit so the berries thaw, but this is inessential. Maybe throw on some chocolate chips for good measure.

Ochazuke
We are still both under the weather so we thought ochazuke was in order. We also had a bunch of fresh broccolli that we wanted to use up, so this was slightly experimental. We have this pot that is a decent sized pot, and then there are steamer attachments that can fit onto the top without decreasing the capacity of the bottom. We cooked 1 1/2 cups of brown rice with 3 cups of water in the bottom section. To do this, put the stuff in the pot, heat it to boiling, put the lid on, then turn down to simmer. Brown rice (at least this brown rice) takes about 40 minutes to cook. I don't know why; white rice takes 20 minutes. While the rice was cooking, we prepared the broccolli and sliced a bunch of ginger into one of the steamer attachments. We didn't think the broccolli would take 40 minutes, so we waited until the rice had gone 20 minutes then put the steamer attachment on the pot and let it go 20 more minutes.

Then we put rice in a bowl, put broccolli on top, and added a couple of sour plums, furikake, and green tea. It worked out well, but the broccolli was still quite cruncy---we might try starting the broccolli at the same time as the rice if we do it again. The ginger ended up flavoring the rice because the steam hit it and dribbled back down into the rice pan, which was a nice touch. It was yummy, though. It made me feel less sick.

October 9 -- Pizza
Tuesday, October 11, 2005, 05:09 PM - soups, breakfast
I've been irresponsible the last couple of days... I didn't forget to eat, but I forgot to update the blog. Here's what I've recovered.

Menu
breakfast: fake sausage wrapped in pancakes
lunch: soup
dinner: pizza

recipes

pancakes with fake sausage
We used up the last of the leftover pancakes. We wrapped fake sausage in them. It was the kind of fake sausage that comes in a tube and you have to brown it in a frying pan. It's good stuff.

soup
1. Put some water in a pot.
2. add a bunch of onion, carrots, and cellery.
3. if you don't want it to ook forever, you can throw in bullion if you want it to taste like broth sooner.
4. add some spices. We used salt, pepper, oregano, and basil.
5. Cook it until it boils, then turn it down to low and put a lid on and ignore it for half an hour or so.
6. Add frozen fake meatballs and noodles and let cook for about 8 minutes. These were pretty thick noodles; if I were using a thin noodle I might let the meatballs go for a while then add the noodles later.
7. enjoy.

pizza
We both felt sick and didn't want to cook so we ordered tomato broccolli pizza. I've had bad experiences with broccolli on pizza, but this time it worked out well.

Soba
Saturday, October 8, 2005, 08:34 PM - breakfast
Menu
Today isn't very exciting, foodwise. We had oatmeal for breakfast. Breakfast was at noon, so we skipped lunch and went to a "Japanese" restaurant with some friends for dinner.

Recipes (and other commentary)

Oatmeal
I used rolled oats. Steel-cut oats are vastly superior, but I haven't figured out how to get steel-cut oats in Albany. In San Diego you can just go buy the bob's red mill Scottish oats or the McSomethingorother's Irish oats. In Brunswick we could also get some variety of Irish oats that were steel-cut. In Albany you can get oatmeal with all sorts of different labels on the container, but I haven't figured out that there is any difference but the label. No matter what variety of oat it claims to be (even when a brand has 3 different varieties next to each other on the shelf), it's always just plain rolled oats.

But whatever I end up with, I just follow the directions on the package. That's not true; I usually forget to follow the directions, and it's not rocket science so it doesn't matter. Today, by some miracle, I do things in the order specified on the package. It doesn't matter as long as you use more or less the proportions they tell you. Then add cranberries. You have to buy a bunch of cranberries when they sell them around Thanksgiving and Christmas and freeze them so you have a stash to draw from during the rest of the year. Cook the oatmeal and cranberries until the cranberries start to pop and juicy cranberry goodness ooooks out into the oatmeal. Then serve.

I like to put a dusting of brown sugar over the top. It melts from the combination of heat and residual liquid into a crusty sugary coating. It's like a poor man's creme brule, only with oatmeal instead of creme. For some reason this makes me happy. I just like the texture. Don't bother with brown sugar if you're just going to mix it in and not have the nifty texture.

Soba
I made the mistake of ordering soba. It was a big disappointment. We went to this restaurant once before, about a year ago, and it was really amazingly yummy. They seem to have modified their menu. I think it might have been Americanized to cater to people who don't really like Japanese food. It used to automatically taste yummy; now they serve bland stuff with a bottle of seasoning on the side just in case you are the sort of person who likes food that tastes like something. Prepackaged stuff on the side is never as good as food that's just made good in the first place. Why, oh why did they change? And they don't have zaru soba anymore. I think it's a bit of a stretch to say they have soba at all. It was mostly flour... the noodles were white with flecks of what might have been buckwheat... they didn't taste like soba, they tasted like flour. So sad...

I'm going to have to learn to make soba. Only I really don't have an appropriate kitchen for it here. Maybe I'll give it a shot sometime, though. Then again, I am visiting San Diego at the end of October and can hitch a ride to chopstiX. Somehow eating bad soba made me very homesick for the real thing. I've always wondered how people could stand living places without 24 hour burrito joints within a reasonable drive from their house. Now I must also wonder how people live without a good noodle house.
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More Ochazuke
Wednesday, October 5, 2005, 07:24 PM - comfort food, flatbread, breakfast, sandwiches
Menu

I don't guess i'm getting off to a very good start here, what with having the same thing two nights in a row just as I start the blog. Then again, I am sick, so I have a good excuse. Today, for breakfast, I had leftover pancakes with peanut butter and jelly. For lunch, I had egg sludge sandwiches. I had some goldfish crackers for an afternoon snack. You can't beat goldfish crackers when you're sick. They have extremely high placebo value. For dinner we had ochazuke, but with broccolli added.

recipes

Leftover Pancakces
1. Have already made pancakes and leave them lying around in the fridge. Since I made the pancakes before I started the blog, I should elaborate.

Since the kitchen here in Albany is about the size of a walk-in closet, there isn't much storage space. That means making things out of boxes instead of making things from scratch. Yummy varieties of flour take up way more space than a little box of mix. Plus the mix means you don't have to have egg on hand, or flour, or baking soda, or milk. These things take space, not to mention the ability to foil the clever plots of egg-booby-trappers.

I wanted these pancakes to be versatile, so I made them more like crepes so that the leftovers could be stuffed with savory filling and covered with sauce some night. That hasn't happened yet, but it might if I get over this cold before the pancakes go away. For nice faux crepes, just add half again as much liquid to your pancake mix.

Preheat a frying pan to medium heat. coat the pan with butter or spray it or oil it or whatever you like. I use an 8-inch frying pan. It holds maybe a 1/4 cup of dough, poured in circles so that it thinly covers the bottom of the pan. I'm not 100% sure if it's a 1/4 cup, because i don't have a 1/4 measure. The 1/4 measure is in a flour canister in San Diego because it seemed convenient at a time... So I use a 1/3 cup measure and don't fill it all the way. I might use less than a 1/4 cup. Who knows? After the dough dries out (you can tell because the surface isn't shiny anymore) I flip it to cook the other side. Because it's thin the other side doesn't take very long. Then put the pancake on a plate and repeat the process until you're out of dough. Voila!

2. We used peanut butter and jelly because we had it on hand. I don't like syrup because it's too sweet. Sometimes I make a berry topping, but that's for another time.

Egg Sludge Sandwich
Egg Sludge is basically just egg salad, but with a cooler name. I don't make egg sludge. It scares me. It's yummy, but it scares me. Deep down, I know it involves mayonaise. Yuck! I can eat it as long as I don't see the mayonaise go in.

Your best bet is to woo someone who is willing to make egg sludge for you. I found mine wandering around in the rain several years ago and offered him a ride home. See how it payed off? He made me an egg sludge sandwich today and I didn't have to look at any mayonaise.

Ochazuke
We made extra rice yesterday because we felt like crap and thought we'd be in need of more comfort food. We made Ochazuke the same way as yesterday, but today we used broccolli instead of peas and carrots. We used up the furikake this time. Next time we're trying a different variety, which is almost identical except the ingredients come in different proportions.

Ochazuke
Tuesday, October 4, 2005, 06:53 PM - comfort food, breakfast, sandwiches
Menu

Today was culinarily uneventful. Breakfast was supposed to be cold pizza, but someone (not me) boobytrapped the eggs so that getting the pizza out of the refrigerator made the box of eggs fall on the kitchen floor. So instead, breakfast was scrambled eggs on rye bread. Lunch was cold pizza.

We're both flirting with a bit of a cold... not enough to be completely dehibilitating, but enough to make us feel like we couldn't make anything grandiose for dinner. Comfort food was in order. So we made ochazuke. It was yummy.

Recipes

Scrambled Eggs on Rye bread
1. remove cold pizza from refrigerator, catching container on egg box so that the egg box falls to the floor. Make sure before doing this that there are only as many eggs in the container as you would like to have for breakfast---in this case, 2 eggs. The eggs should crush enough that you don't want to just stick them back in the fridge, but not enough to get raw egg all over the floor. yuck!

2. Roll your eyes and return pizza to the refrigerator.

3. Get a clean pan--I used a wok because everything else was in the dishwasher and I didn't want to wash anything while holding 2 raw eggs in one hand to keep them from making a mess.

4. Separate the egg from the eggshells. Put the egg in the pan and the eggshells in the garbage disposal. You might want to wash your hands at this point, because you don't want raw egg contamination.

5. In the pan, scramble up the eggs with whatever's handy over high heat. When the egg starts to solidify, turn the heat down (or off, depending on how thick your pan is).

6. Cut slices of rye bread. You might toast them if you have a toaster, or zap them for 15 seconds in the microwave if you don't. Dump eggs on top.

7. Salt and pepper to taste. Eat.

Cold Pizza
1. Have already ordered a pizza a day or two ago, and have left leftovers in the refrigerator.

2. Remove pizza from refrigerator. Eat.


Ochazuke
1. Cook rice the way you'd ordinarily cook rice. We used brown rice, which we're still a little afraid of. We used 2 parts water to 1 part rice. We're still experimenting with brown rice and haven't quite gotten it down. The package said to use more water, but that made it really soupy. 2:1 was still a little wetter than I like my rice, so next time we'll probably use less.

2. Pick a vegetable. I don't think this is particularly authentic, but we used frozen carrots and peas. Throw the vegetable in a bowl, microwave it. Put the rice on top.

3. Add some sour plums. Sure, there are other things you could use, but I've become addicted to sour plums. They're good eats.

4. Put some nori and sesame on top. We have a jar of stuff that's a mixture of nori, sesame, soy, and rice powder. I could tell you what it's called, but that would involve standing up, so you'll just have to go to your local asian market and poke around. If you can't find the prepackaged mixture, just shred up some nori and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. It should work just fine.

5. Add green tea. You could add any tea you like, depending on your mood, but green tea is most appropriate.



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