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 & 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)
1 c flour
1/3 c ice water
1/3 c oil (I used canola)
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
- 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.
- Toss pumpkin with oil, salt and pepper and place in the oven with a tray at 180C and set timer for 30 minutes.
- Make the crust by adding together flour and salt.
- 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.
- Mix together the half and half with the eggs, and then mix with all other filling items and pour into the springform pan.
- Put into the oven and turn up the temperature to 200C and bake for 35-40 minutes.
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.
Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 40-45 minutes Servings: 5-6
Budget for ingredients: ¥1500
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:
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 c shredded cheese
- Cut your rolls horizontally, leaving one side together.
- Pull out some of the bread white to make a little resting spot to nestle your meatballs into later.
- Rip the whitebread into minuscule bits. Set rolls aside until later.
- 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!
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
I was searching in Fukuyama the other day with a really empty stomach for something savory (no, I was nowhere close to my own kitchen). I went into a rather well known coffee shop where I saw something that they called quiche, but it was GROSS. I’m sorry Japan, and I don’t mean to rail on other people, surely, some machine worked very hard on making that slice get to the glass display, but it pretty much looked like a Japanese omelette, aka NO FILLING! The bacon was so scant and…I could go on and on, but I won’t. Starting this blog and subsequently cooking more was like a double edged sword, the good thing is I have a better palette and my friends can eat the food I make, the bad thing is I have actually developed standards so the outside food just doesn’t cut it sometimes. Anyways, here is some eye candy for your rumbling stomachs.
Nom nom nom
The recipe is loosely adapted from Emeril’s Quiche Lorraine but I had to subsitute for easily accessible ingredients!
Spinach and bacon quiche
Prep time: 30 minutes (not counting resting) Cooking time: 45-50 minutes Servings: 8-10
Budget for ingredients: ¥1000
1 1/4 c flour
1/4 t salt
7 T butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1 -2 T ice water
6 ounces thick cut bacon, cut into narrow strips (or lardons )
20 spinach leaves
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 1/4 c half-and-half
1/4 t salt
1/4 t white pepper
1 pinch nutmeg
1 c cheese
- Mix the flour and salt in the big bowl.
- Add the butter and with your fingers, kind of rub it in until it looks like coarse crumbs.
- Add the ice water and the dough should come together. If it’s not, add more water.
- Put the dough inside your fridge to rest for at least an hour. I left mine for overnight in a disc shape wrapped in plastic wrap. Just like a person, your crust needs to get some sleepytime!
- Roll out the dough between two parchment sheets and some extra flour until it can fit into the square pan. Then allow for more resting (30min- 1 hr).
- Poke some holes at the bottom of the crust with a fork and then lay parchment paper over it and put dried beans in it. This way when you prebake your crust, it won’t make a big bubble! Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes. While it is baking…
- Cut the bacon into 1/2 slices and render out the fat. This means heating the bacon on medium heat in the frying pan and then taking it out after 15-20 minutes or until crispy. The remaining fat in the pan is the bacon grease which can be saved in a jar for future recipes, or you need to wipe it out with a paper towel because if poured down your sink, the fat will solidify and clog up your pipes!
- Cut the bacon more into 1 cm pieces.
- Put the bacon at the bottom of the baked crust. Then layer with spinach.
- Mix together eggs and half and half together, then add the remaining ingredients.
- Pour over the bacon/spinach and bake at 180C for 30 minutes.
When the holiday season rolls around (aka anytime after Halloween for Japan), I get the urge to bring cooking to almost all of my classrooms! As long as your teachers like you, and you plan ahead in advance (I start talking about cooking 3-4 weeks before the actual day), this is really easy and a BIG hit. I completed the following recipe within two periods (washing/clean-up included) for a 5th grade elementary class of 16 kids. I split them up into two groups for the stuffing and the mashed potatoes. The only prep work done for this beforehand was the applesauce, because it doesn’t exist in Japan. I just grated an apple and cooked the mushy part and juice down with some cinnamon which only took 15-20 minutes. You can do all of this in a big batch and save it in the freezer for other recipes in the future. It might also help if you measure stuff out for your kids beforehand, so they just have to put it together.
I also wanted to mention that my students and teachers wanted this recipe so I translated it and put it on a Japanese cooking site called Cookpad. もし日本語のレシピ欲しかったら，これをクリークしてください！Link to the recipe.
- Happy festivus for the rest of us!
This was adapted from Ryan’s Baking Blog. You should click on the link just because it has a cute pug in a cupcake!
Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 35-40 minutes Servings: 16
Budget for ingredients: ¥2000 *This is just approximate. The teachers usually prepare all of this and I give directions in English.
2 big bowls
2 mashers (or rice paddles)
1 frying pan
2 cutting boards
2 loaves of french bread
6 strips of bacon
1 c water
1/2 c applesauce
1 t garlic powder
1 t salt
1 t pepper
100 g butter
1 c cream
1 handful of cheese
Cut the bread and bacon. The bread should be 1/2 inch cubes and the bacon can just be in little strips.
Add applesauce and water to the bread and bacon in a big bowl. Mix. Add more water if it’s not moist enough. Stuffing should be moist but NOT soggy.
Mix dry ingredients together and then add it to the bread. This part is more to taste even though I gave guidelines for them.
Put the mixture in the little cupcake tins. Bake in the oven at 180C for 35-40 minutes.
Mashed potatoes group
Wash and peel all the potatoes.
Cut them into 1 inch cubes.
Boil them in the big pot until they are soft and can be pierced with a fork.
Drain and mash.
Melt butter in a pan and add it with cream and a handful of cheese to the potatoes. Mix.
Putting it together:
Use spoons to put a dollop of the mashed potatoes on the stuffing. いただきます！