Oct 21, 2019

Brown Rice SPAM Musubi

It was meant to be regular white rice musubi, but I'm too used to making brown rice at home...and the brown rice was already soaked in water...So here it is, healthier version musubi with a CA vibe.

Brown rice SPAM musubi -



Ingredients (about 8 servings)?

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 can SPAM 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Few sheets dried seaweed/nori


How?

Cook the rice. Once ready, pour in some rice vinegar and fluff the rice. Set aside to cool off.

Cut the SPAM into 8 rectangular slices. Trim the dried seaweed sheets based on the length of SPAM slices. The width of the seaweed should be about the same as the length of the SPAM slices. You'll get a better idea by looking at my pictures.


Prepare a container for the sauce, add in soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Mix and make sure the sugar has been fully dissolved.


Drizzle some oil to the pan and turn to medium heat. Transfer SPAM over and pour in 2/3 of the sauce. Don't pour in all the sauce at once just to be safe. Sear the SPAM with the sauce, no more than one minute then flip and sear the other side. Bubbling sauce is fine, just watch the heat and not burning it.


Use a musubi mold if available, otherwise I just scoop some rice to the center of the seaweed sheet. Press tightly, I also use the side of the knife to help with shaping straight sides. Shape and press till tight rectangular bed of brown rice formed.


Top the rice with same sized SPAM. Fold in one side of the seaweed. Wipe the edge, the sealing edge with some water then fold the other half of the seaweed over. Press and seal.


I've got some sauce left, so decided to cook some chicken tenders with it. Garnish with toasted white sesame seeds. One extra dish made right on the spot.


Other seaweed recipes:


Oct 15, 2019

Finger Food Recipe - Kale, Ham, and Button Mushroom Crostini

Who'd have thought that extended labor work involved in moving can result in gaining weights? I'm remodeling my old place, so I've been moving boxes and luggage back and forth for the past few days. I should be losing weights, but I talked myself into eating big dinner, snacks, and sweetened drinks, you know, since I've been doing lots of muscle work.

I guess either moving doesn't help with burning calories, or I just over-indulged with legit excuse. Time to get back to a healthier diet.

Kale, ham, and button mushroom crostini -




Ingredients?

  • 145 grams bacon, ham, or pancetta chunks
  • 15 button mushrooms
  • 1 small bundle kale
  • 1 medium baguette
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Some salt
  • Some black pepper
  • Some ricotta


How?

Slice baguette and toast in oven using high heat. Just toast till the baguette slices turned slightly crunchy on the edges. No need to drizzle olive oil since we're going to spread some ricotta over.



Cut the meat into smaller chunks, almost cube-shaped. Slice the lemon into wedges. Trim and halve the button mushrooms. Roughly chop the kale into smaller pieces. Separate the leaf and the stems. Only use the leaf for this recipe. I actually use chopped stems in fried rice afterward.

Drizzle some olive oil to a non-stick pan and turn to medium high heat. Add in meat chunks along with some salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Give it a quick mix.

Once slightly colored, add in kale and mushrooms. Add more salt if needed. Cook till kale starts to wilt then remove from heat.



When the baguette slices are ready, spread some ricotta and top with stir-fried ingredients. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.



Don't over stir-fry the button mushrooms, otherwise they'll start to shrink due to moisture loss. You'll be amazed how small a big button mushroom can turn into if not paying attention to the cooking time.



No more snacking after this, no more sweetened drinks after this, it's time to get back on track. Mind me not, just trying to hypnotize myself here.


Extended reading:


Oct 8, 2019

Hijiki Salad (ひじきサラダ)

My little souvenir from Japan, hijiki, a type of seaweed common in Japanese diet. I used longer version hijiki this time and mix with other strip-shaped ingredients. Mix with salty, sweet, and sourish seasonings, this salad opens up the appetite in a very nutritious way.  

Hijiki salad (ひじきサラダ) -




Ingredients?


  • 30 grams long hijiki
  • 1 handful shirataki noodles/konjac noodles
  • 1 medium small carrot
  • 2 skinny cucumbers
  • 2 slices fried tofu skin (油揚げ)
  • Some toasted white sesame seeds


Sauce:


  • 5 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons double condensed mentsuyu
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil


How?


Drain the shirataki/konjac noodles and cut into shorter strips. It'll be easier to use a scissor for the cutting job.

Here's the longer version hijiki used -




Peel and julienne the carrot. As for the cucumbers, peel if preferred, then julienne too. Cut the fried tofu skin into thin strips.


Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl, make sure the sugar has been fully dissolved.


Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add in hijiki, carrot, konjac noodles, and fried tofu skin. Keep it at a light bubbling and cook for about three minutes. Once done, drain well and transfer into a big bowl.




I actually cook the carrot longer because a softer bite is preferred. Adjust the cooking time for each individual ingredients per your liking.


Add in cucumber strips and pour in premixed sauce. Mix till combined. Taste and adjust with additional seasonings if needed. Lastly, mix in some toasted white sesame seeds. 



This dish can be made ahead of time, store in the fridge, and served as a cold salad.


Try to look for hijiki when you shop at local Japanese grocery store next time. I couldn't find it in Taiwan (where I'm at right now), so I always grab a bunch when visiting Japan. Since it comes as dried seaweed, hijiki can last a long time in my kitchen cabinet, only if I can restrain my appetite. 

   

Other seaweed recipes:


Oct 2, 2019

Mango Mousse for Two, or Perhaps One Satisfying Portion for Yourself

I know it's kind of late posting mango recipes. Supposedly a nice summer treat but this post has been delayed till now. Better late than sorry, I'd better put it up before winter hits.

Mango mousse -



Ingredients (2 small ones or 1 satisfying portion)?

  • 125 grams mango purée plus extra fresh mango cubes for garnish
  • 125 heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin powder
  • Some edible flowers or fresh mint leaves (optional)  


How?

Dissolve the gelatin powder with 1 tablespoon of water first. Meanwhile, use 1 tablespoon of very hot water and add into the mixture. Keep mixing till all the gelatin powder has been fully dissolved. Otherwise the final mousse might not be as smooth. These little lumps due to not fully dissolved gelatin powder might feel like tiny bits of coconut jelly. Doesn't sound too bad, but we're aiming for smooth texture here.

Use fresh ripe mango, I personally prefer red skin varieties, they're sweet and aromatic. The yellow kind works well too, they tend to be meatier, but lack of strong distinct mango aroma. 


Blend most of the mango for the purée, along add in the gelatin mixture and blend together. Slice some mango into smaller cubes.

Meanwhile, use a mixer and whip the heavy whipping cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Keep blending till soft peaks form. 

Fold in mango purée into the heavy whipping cream mixture. Gently mix till just combined. Pour into serving cup/s. Cover with cling oil and transfer to the fridge. Might take couple hours before the mousse to set.


Garnish with fresh mango cubes, edible flowers, or fresh mint leaves right before serving.


I strongly recommend Irwin mango, its aroma is unbeatable, and one big Irwin mango should be enough for this recipe.


But do pump up the ingredients used for more servings. It can be made ahead and save a lot of time when hosting a gathering at home. After putting up some fresh mango cubes and pretty garnishes, for sure all the guests will be wowing about these little treats.


Recent dessert recipes:


Sep 26, 2019

logy - Sunday Tea Pairing Lunch

I kept the first letter of the restaurant name lowercase since that's how it's been shown on their website and other materials. Almost one year since logy first opened its door to the public, still a fairly new restaurant that's already been crowned with one Michelin star. 



Reservation has been hard to get since day one, and pulling connection to get a table just not my thing. One day I was randomly checking logy's reservation system online and here it was. Not one, but two time slots were open. It's been decided, my little getaway weekend lunch.




Can't say it was excitement, but rather a long waited getaway moment with dear friend. Right after I left home and ready to go, pulled up Google Maps and there was a little note next to logy - cash only. What? Case only? For sure? I thought I even left my credit card information when booking the table.




As secretive as it is, I couldn't find logy's phone number. That's right, even when booking the table and receiving the confirmation email, no phone number was attached. Man, I should have double checked when logy actually called the week before.




So to be safe, I ran back home and got my ATM card, hopped on taxi and speed up my way to the restaurant.


Luckily, I still managed to arrive before they start serving the first dish to other customers. My friend was already there. Put the payment uncertainty aside, let the meal begin.



Sujiko washed with katsuo stock/carrot/turmeric/cracker made with coconut and rice.



No menu here for environmental reasons. I tried my best to remember these dishes.



Main dish showtime, soon it was circled back to the kitchen for some final touches -




Instead of the usual wine pairing, we went for the tea pairing that day. Kept it light and refreshing, what I was hoping to get.


First tea pairing, coconut water soaked with coffee powder -




Some kind of acid ingredient was also used here, the waitress said think of it as slightly sourish coffee.



Together with mackerel/green apple/cookie crumbles.




Both the tea pairing and the mackerel dish had a slight sourish note. Bright but not sharp, more like a soft brush that gently open up the palate and appetite.



Second tea pairing, passion fruit/marukyu-koyamaen matcha -




The next dish was like a Chinese ink wash painting, please to the eyes before tasting -




Squid/lotus root/myoga/ink.



Love that super thin slices of lotus root, completely overturn the texture I've used too. More so like a thin layer that stick right onto the tongue and other ingredients when in touch with moisture, further providing a sense of roundness, same effect from the ink below too.




Some crunchy bits from the filling too. Truly a beautiful dish packed with different textures and depth.


Angelica/celery root ice cream/goji berries/crab meat -




Angelica is a common Chinese herb used here in Taiwan, got a herbal and mild bitter note, but that was balanced off with the sweetness from the goji berries. Perhaps crab meat played a part here too.




The stock was made with squid and beef. The entire dish was presented like a Japanese chawamushi. No need to stir or mix, just scoop all the way down and savor as it is. This course here displayed the chef's understanding of local ingredients. Every item shined but also complement one another, especially for angelica, not an easy ingredient to work with.


Third tea pairing - 




Jasmine oolong tea/red shiso/hops.




Tilefish/basil/kumquat/black garlic mayo/spinach powder -




At first, I thought that black half sphere thing was the black garlic mayo, but turned out that was kumquat. You little tricky thing.




Love the kumquat here, it further brighten up the dense aroma from the black garlic mayo, all paired well with the contrasting textures of the fish, tender meat plus crunchy scale. Can't beat that.



Forth tea pairing, also the only hot drink, ginger oolong tea -




Crab meat foam/raw tofu skin/beef tripe -




Completely opposite from the more familiar tripe dishes. It's rather light and airy in a way. 




At a quick glance, this dish looks like egg yolk, it's not, but the well-rounded flavor did quite resemble the creaminess from the yolks.




Fifth tea pairing, faux wine this time, described by the waitress -




Pu'er tea/hisbicus/pomegranate/juniper. Probably due to juniper, this one feels more like a distilled spirit than wine to me.


Main dish came back up again -




Pork with two sauces. Beef soup with sherry vinegar, and the dark paste made with parsley, fermented tofu, and caper.




The fat resembles the texture of a Taiwanese local rice dish ru rou fan, slightly sticky, almost glue-like. Not overly clinging and not oily at all, just comfortably covered my tongue. Very nicely done.


By the way, I overheard another customer's conversation with the waiter. "Why the chef doesn't use beef as main dish?" Waiter said that the chef thinks for a high quality beef, the best way to showcase it is to give it a simple sear then serve with salt. To put up such a "plain" dish, complaints may rise. So chef prefers non-beef ingredients with more cooking techniques involved. 


Also, this season's main dish supposed to be duck, but logy noticed that it was my first visit, so they decided to let me try their previous pork entrée instead. Until next time I guess.


Figs/goat milk yogurt/hay and fig leaves jelly -




Not a fan of that goaty scent, so I tried to dig my way with figs, to wash down that over-powering taste.




Sugar-apple panna cotta/sugar-apple meringue/chamomile -




Pair with herbal chamomile scent, this panna cotta can go a long way.




Black coffee or tea -




My friend got the coffee and I chose tea. For tea, they further asked if you want herbal tea or osmanthus oolong tea, then offered it hot or cold.




I selected cold brew version, and they presented it with a stylish glass.


Final dessert, aiyu jelly with coconut jelly -




That hedgehog-looking objects are aiyu seeds. You put them into a cloth then start squeezing and rubbing under water. The water will gradually turn slimy and overtime it'll start to coagulate like jelly.




Serve with pineapple juice and a little touch of Chinese basil. A refreshing ending.


A little gift to take home with, furikake made with logy's fish trimmings. One way to reduce food waste -




Towards the end of our meal, the staffs are still busy prepping other ingredients. Can you spot this season's main protein duck on the counter?



Since I arrived a little late and took some time taking pictures, the couple next to us finished earlier and ready to pay and leave. Wait, let me take a peek. Credit card, the gentleman pulled out his credit card. Yes, logy does accept credit card payments. At least I don't have to rush out to withdraw money.

Double checking Google Maps again while typing up with post, it looks fine from my computer, but still showing "cash only" from cellphone app. Oh well, at least problem solved. Note to self, don't try to hang up on restaurant's reservation confirmation call so quickly, always see if they take credit cards, just to be safe, so I won't be late again in the future.



logy currently holds one Michelin star status.



logy
1F., No.6, Ln.109, Sec.1, Anhe Rd., Daan Dist., 
Taipei, Taiwan 
Homepage: https://logy.tw/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/logy.tw/

Opening hours:
Lunch - Thursday through Sunday 12 noon ~ 3:00 p.m.
Dinner - Wednesday through Sunday 6:00 p.m. ~ 10:30 p.m. 
Closed on Monday all day, Tuesday all day, and Wednesday lunch


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