Earthy Mushroom Soup

Okay, so whenever I see “earthy” in any recipe I immediately get suspicious.  Why do I want to eat something that’s like dirt????  After I took a sip of this soup I just had to have a moment of silence, because (probably to people’s delight) for once I had nothing to say.  That’s how decadent this savory soup is!  Adapted from Mark Bittman, this is such a great autumn dish that is incredibly easy.

If you do live in Shanghai, it would be great to check out 草菇 (caogu)for this recipe.  In English it’s called a paddy straw mushroom.  It’s the same mushroom other than shitake that’s used in Chinese cooking and I picked these up because unpeeled, they look like quail eggs and were just bursting with flavor.

egg or vegetable?

egg or vegetable?

earthy mushroom soup

yum

Earthy Mushroom Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes                        Cooking time: 30 minutes                      Servings:  4 people

Budget for ingredients: 40RMB (if you go to the wet market)

Equipment:
Cutting board
Knife
2 Pots

Ingredients:
3 handfuls of mushrooms (approx. 3-4 cups)  I chose paddy straw, shitake, and shimeiji
4 T butter
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 celery stalks
1 block of vegetable soup
1/4 c soy sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
Strips of dried seaweed

Directions:

  1. Chop up mushrooms and put it in a pot with high heat with pats of butter until it starts to release liquid.  Should take around 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add all other veggies and cook until onion turns translucent.
  3. Pour in soy sauce & veggie cube with  around 3 cups of water, and cook the soup until all vegetables are tender.
  4. Sprinkle on salt & pepper to taste.  Top with the dried nori (seaweed) and mix it in until it turns soft too.  Serve immediately.

Sweet Potato Puree & Noodles

I might have committed a cooking sin.  Writing a cooking blog without ever referencing Mark Bittman the NYtimes food journalist who used to write The Minimalist!  But hey, the day is here and I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised by this recipe–I mean sweet potato on noodles?  Starch on starch?  Kind of gross, right?  but nooo, this mix was simple and really delicious.  Really easy to get these ingredients anywhere too.    The cool thing is I found purple sweet potatoes at the market and they look so great with the scallion.  Soba is a Japanese buckwheat noodle that’s a cheap staple.  Eaten hot or cold, I find this dish to be a great fit for the weather– in between Summer/Fall, at least in Shanghai.

sweet potato noodles

Sweet Potato Puree & Noodles

Prep time: 10 minutes                        Cooking time: 20 minutes                      Servings:  4 people

Budget for ingredients: 100RMB (if you go to the wet market)

Equipment:
Cutting board
Knife
Peeler
2 Pots

Ingredients:
2 sweet potatoes (さつまいも)
4 T peanut butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
400g soba noodles (usually when dried, each bunch should be 100 g for each serving)
3-4 stalks of scallions
Directions:
  1. Peel, cut and boil sweet potatoes until you can mash them.
  2. Drain any excess water, mash, and mix in peanut butter and garlic.
  3. Boil water and add in soba noodles.  Should be around 5-6 minutes until cooked.
  4. Put purée  on top of noodles and garnish with scallions.  Serve immediately.

Pumpkin & Carmelized Onion Quiche

As autumn approaches once more I can’t help but reach for the gorgeous pumpkins available in Shanghai at the wet market I live near.  It’s always hustling and bustling, filled with the freshest ingredients at rock bottom prices.  From supermarkets geared towards foreigners such as City Shop and City Super, you can basically find everything you could ever want (except for Queso Blanco that I’d need to re-create Cafe Habana’s corn.  Help here anyone?).  I am no longer in unknown territory, with a few language snafus, but pretty much, I am found and no longer lost as I was when I moved to Japan.  However, if there is any kind of ingredient that I think is special or needs an introduction, I will use a spot of Japanese here and there.  Prices are going to now on be reflective in RMB.

I digress.  Pumpkin, carmelized onion, sage, and gorgonzola makes an amazing mix for a mouthwatering quiche.  On top of that, I made a nice crust using canola oil–absurdity, I know!  Adapted from closet cooking.

Pumpkin and carmelized onion quiche

Pumpkin & Carmelized Onion Quiche

Prep time: 45 minutes                        Baking time: 50 minutes                      Servings:  6 people

Budget for ingredients: 100RMB (if you go to the wet market)

Equipment:
2 Bowls
Cutting board
Knife
Peeler
Frying pan
Oven
Springform pan

Ingredients:
For Crust:
1 c flour
1/3 c ice water
1/3 c oil (I used canola)
For Filling:
1 T olive oil
2 c onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c water
2 c pumpkin, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c half and half
50 g gorgonzola or other blue cheese, crumbled
20 fresh leaves of sage, chopped

Directions:

  1. Put onion in a pan with 1T of oil over medium heat, and after 10 minutes add water and lower the heat and stir every 10 minutes until a lovely golden brown.
  2. Toss pumpkin with oil, salt and pepper and place in the oven with a tray at 180C and set timer for 30 minutes.
  3. Make the crust by adding together flour and salt.
  4. Whisk water and oil together and then add it slowly to the flour mixture.  Using a fork, the crust should clump together.  Press it into the springform pan.
  5. Mix together the half and half with the eggs, and then mix with all other filling items and pour into the springform pan.
  6. Put into the oven and turn up the temperature to 200C and bake for 35-40 minutes.

In transit

Well well well.  Seems like I’ve missed an entire season, summer, and this blog!  ご無沙汰しております。That’s –it’s been awhile.  I have to admit things have been hectic over here–I’ve moved across the waters (well, just a little bit) to Shanghai.  It’s taken me awhile to get used to new surroundings, and I’ve been establishing my jewelry line, that I have long been neglecting this.  I thought it might be fun to show you all what kind of food I have been eating, and through tasting, hopefully I will be refining my tastes to make better dishes!

Cherry blossom cake from Shibuya

Cherry blossom cake from Shibuya

Wet market in Shanghai

Wet market in Shanghai

Soup buns

Soup buns - A Shanghai specialty!

Lemon curd with blueberry topping from GOGA

South African Braai

South African Braai - aka BBQ!

Abalone, Daikon, & Ginger from Madison

Abalone, Daikon, & Ginger from Madison

Today's freshest Jujubes (aka dates)

Today's freshest Jujubes (aka dates)

On with that, onto pure cooking!

Pineapple dip

When my friend Mayumi told me what exactly was in this dip, I’ll admit, I was slightly skeptical.  But one dip in and then I was addicted!  This is so easy and such a hit, I will make it over and over again–to no one’s chagrin.  Works with saltines or chips.  Probably pretzels too if they existed in Japan.  Savoury, sweet, SUPER!  Thanks to Richard (@ThePaperCup) for the photo.  Smashing!

pineapple dip tasty

tasty & addicting!

Pineapple dip

Prep time: 5 minutes                Cooking time: 0 minutes (a first on this blog)              Servings:  6 people

Budget for ingredients: ¥600

Equipment:
Big Bowl
Electric mixer or big spoon

Ingredients:

1 package cream cheese
1 can pineapple, chopped
1 T roasted onion
2T garlic puree

Directions:

  1. Mix everything together.  Then serve it.  BAM!!!!

 

Custard crepe cake

I have never made crepes before and after seeing the milk crepe cake (ミルククレープ) around the kaiten sushi (the conveyer belt contraption that is also on the big Whole Foods in the LES) place I like, I decided to try it.  Crepes are pretty easy if you get the hang of it, and once again I have adapted a recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  Note that this is not a mix and it’s done kind of recipe.  It will take two days!  Everything that takes more time and effort has a bigger payoff right? RIGHT!  Many thanks to my older brother from another mother, Thian (find him here) for the great photo!

 

Crepe cake layers custard cream

Layers and layers!

Custard crepe cake

Prep time: 30 minutes                Cooking time: 1 hour            Servings: 10-16

Budget for ingredients: ¥1000

Equipment:

1 pan
1 big bowl
Electric mixer
Plastic container –  I use a ziploc one.
Spatula
Spoon

Ingredients:

For the crepe batter:
100 g butter
3 c milk
6 eggs
1 1/2 c flour
7 T sugar
Pinch salt

For the custardy cream:
2 c milk
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
6 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c cornstarch
3 T butter

For assembly:
1 t butter
21 c cream

Directions:

  1. In your pan, cook the butter until brown like hazelnuts. It will be bubbling. Should take around 10 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Using the same pan, heat the milk until steaming, and also set that aside.
  3. Using your pot and mixer, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt. Slowly add the hot milk and browned butter. Pour the mixture into your plastic container.  Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Time for the custardy cream!  Bring the milk with the vanilla bean (and scrapings) to a boil, then set aside for 10 minutes; remove the bean.
  5. In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, then place pan over high heat and bring to a boil, whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes.   The mixture is going to congeal.  Don’t worry! Let it cool to room temperature.  Then put it into the refrigerator overnight as well.
  6. The next day, take the batter out and bring to room temperature. Swab the frying pan with butter, and turn on the stove to the 4th notch, aka medium heat.
  7. Add about 3 tablespoons batter and swirl to cover the surface. Cook for 3 minutes, and then flip with your spatula to cook the other side for another minute.
  8. Place finished product on a plate.  Repeat until you have 20 pretty crepes.
  9. Whip the cream into the custard.
  10. Lay 1 crepe on a cake plate. Using your spatula, completely cover with a thin layer of pastry cream.  Repeat until you finish with a crepe.  Dust with powdered sugar if you would like.  Let the cake rest for 2 hours or so before slicing and serving.

Meatball subs

I got the idea of a meatball sub into my head recently(completely smitten kitchen‘s fault) and immediately started salivating like crazy.  It had literally been years since I’ve eaten one and wowie, did this turn out DELICIOUS or WHAT.  Italian food is so nice, homey, and simple.  Basic but perfection.  Just like this blog (JK!).  Must give great thanks to my friend Richard (find him @The Paper Cup) who so graciously took this photo.

Meatball subs cheese bread italian food

MEATY!

Meatball subs

Prep time: 20 minutes                Cooking time: 40-45 minutes              Servings: 5-6

Budget for ingredients: ¥1500

Equipment:
Big bowl
Frying pan

Ingredients:

Meatballs:
2 half loaves of the french bread…so really 1 loaf
500 g ground meat (I used the 50/50 of beef and pork)
1 package of parsley (パセリ <paseri>)
1/3 c powdered Parmesan
3/4 t salt
1/4 t paprika
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 t garlic puree
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg

Putting together the sub:
Olive oil
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/2 onion
1 c shredded cheese

Directions:

  1. Cut your rolls horizontally, leaving one side together.
  2. Pull out some of the bread white to make a little resting spot to nestle your meatballs into later.
  3. Rip the whitebread into minuscule bits. Set rolls aside until later.
  4. Put the bread in a large bowl with 3/4 cup warm water mix with all the meatball ingredients with a fork.  Use a spoon or wet hands to make 2-inch meatballs.  At this point, you can even freeze your meatballs individually for around 20 minutes, and then transfer into a freezer bag.  Or continue!
  5. Brown your meatballs in a frying pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  DO NOT touch them until they are actually brown, otherwise they will crumble in the pan!  Let them rest on paper towels and throw out the oil (aka soak it up with towels and discard in a trashcan).
  6. Using the same pan, heat up the tomato sauce.  Then lower to medium heat and add in the meatballs, cover and let cook for 30 minutes or so.
  7. Next, put the meatballs in the bread with sauce.  Add on some chopped onions and cheese, and pop it into the toaster oven until the cheese melts.  It took me 10 minutes at 160C.  Tada!  CHOMP.