Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Green beans with Japanese sesame dressing

I demonstrated how to cook Japanese green beans with sesame dressing (Ingen no Gomaae) for Nikkei Concern (http://www.nikkeiconcerns.org/seattlekeiro.html) Health fair other day.

I decided to make two types of sesame dressings.  During the process of creating recipes,
I looked up my Japanese recipe books.  My all cookbooks of Japanese basic home cooking include a recipe of green beans and sesame dressing or some sort of sesame dressing. I cook spinach with sweet soy sesame dressing #1 often at home.  I made green beans with sweet and sour sesame dressing #2 at my party and it was popular that several guests asked me about the dressing.
The organizer of the Health fair asked me not to use sugar in the recipe because many old attendants of the health fair have diabetes.  I usually use sugar to make the both dressing. I researched sugar substitutes and all have some problem. (Checkout: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/are-artificial-sweeteners-a-healthy-substitute-for-sugar-201112304047) I decided to use honey which is natural although the honey contains sugar and have unique flavor. 
I conducted some test making sesame dressing. Honey is sweeter than sugar.  I found the amount of honey which works for the sesame dressing after several trials.
Also to keep beans nice green after boiling, there are two way to parboil them. One way is to cook beans in salted water. Others salt beans before parboiling. The first way is commonly people use. So I decided to use the second method. But if your doctor told you not eat salt much, you can eliminate salt when you boil the beans.  Here is the recipe which I made for the health fair.

Green beans with sesame seeds honey dressings
By FumikoB

Ingredients for 4 servings:
8 ounces Green beans (About 32 medium size beans)
Water for boiling
½  teaspoon sea salt
½  teaspoon soy sauce
Dressing 1 ( Goma Ae)
6 Tablespoons Black sesame seeds
2 Tablespoon Soy sauce
4 teaspoons honey *
2 Tablespoon Dashi or water
*If using sugar, 2 Tablespoon sugar in place of honey.
Dressing2  (Goma yogoshi)
6 Tablespoons white sesame seeds
1 Tablespoons honey*
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Dashi or water
*If using sugar, 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons sugar in place of honey.
Cooking instructions for green beans
1.       Wash green beans and cut into pieces 1 ½ inches long.
2.       Sprinkle sea salt on the green beans and mix so beans are coated with salt.
3.       Boil water, then add beans, boil for 5 minutes. (If you like tender beans, cook longer.)  
4.       Strain the beans using a colander, and the place in bowl. 
5.        Add soy sauce on the hot beans and mix.
6.       Cool the beans.
7.       Mix the sesame dressing with the beans.
8.       Plate the sesame marinated beans and serve at room temperature.

Making Sesame Dressing
1.       Roast sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium heat until nice aroma comes out.
2.       Grind sesame seeds in a Japanese mortar with a wooden pestle.
3.       Mix the rest of the ingredients for dressing in another bowl with the ground sesame seeds.

>>>>>>>Printer friendly Version


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holiday bread wreath

I love baking bread. I usually use a bread machine to make dough, shape it and let rise and bake it.
For Nebraskan runza and Piroshki, I kneaded dough by hands. It is very useful to know how to make bread from scratch to teach Hum Bao. Although my recipe of Hum Bao is for my cooking class, I share my holiday bread recipe here. If you don't have bread flour in your kitchen, try with 3 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour instead of partial bread flour. I think the result will still be great.

I got Kitchen aid mixer for Christmas. I will use it to make my bread soon.

Holiday bread made with bread machine
        from Prune Kitchen Seattle
If you have bread machine, try this recipe to make sweet dough. The dough is good for breakfast bread as well as for a holiday bread.
3 cups Bread flour
½ cup Unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup and 2 Tablespoons Water
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 Egg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ½ teaspoons active yeast
½ cup sugar
1 Egg plus 1 Tablespoon of water to make egg wash
Duration: 3 ½ hour
  1. Place all ingredients except egg wash in pan of bread machine.
  2. Select dough cycle and make dough. It generally takes about one and a half hour.
  3. Meanwhile, cut parchment paper to the size of pizza baking dish.
  4. After the dough cycle is completed, dust the flour on a cutting board and put the dough on the board.
  5. Divide the dough into 3 pieces and roll dough and make 3 ropes.
  6. Mold the ends of the 3 ropes together and braid the rest of dough while stretching the rope.*
  7. Pinch the end of the ropes together to make a wreath.
  8. Rise the dough for one hour in warm place until it doubles size. Possibly longer.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degree
  10.  Brush the egg wash on wreath dough. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  11. Cool and decorate with frosting made of 1 cup of powdered sugar and 2-3 Table spoon milk. Sprinkle red and green sugar (Optional)

IF YOU KNEAD BY HANDS, use all ingredients above except 3 Table spoons of yeast.  
  *Notes: To have nice results, braid the rope loose and gently.

Fumiko's Holiday bread made by Bread machine(PDF printer friendly version)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My favorite American appetizers to cook

I cooked deviled eggs and stuffed mushrooms for Thanksgiving for our guests. They are easy to cook and most people love them. I used mushroom stems for stuffed mushrooms. They are delicious. 
Here are how I made deviled eggs and stuffed mushrooms.
12 Stuffed mushrooms
12 white or brown mushrooms
1 TBSP Vegetable oil
Quarter onion minced
1 clove of garlic minced
Sun Dried tomatoes in oil chopped into small pieces.
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
Take stem off the mushroom and chopped the stems into small pieces
Preheat oven to 375 degree
Heat oil and sauté minced onion, garlic and the mushroom stems until wilted.
Combine Parmesan cheese and sun dried tomatoes with the sautéed mixture to make stuffing.
Stuff the mushroom caps and bake them for 15 minutes or more until mushroom caps are cooked. 
They taste better to be served warm.  
6 Deviled eggs
6 eggs (Use at least 3 days old eggs. Very fresh eggs are hard to peel.)
2-3 Table spoon mayonnaise( Add more or less for your taste)
Parsley chopped for garnish
In a pot, fill cold water to cover the eggs and put the lid on the pot.
Boil the water with eggs over medium heat.
Turn off the heat as soon as the water boils.
Leave the eggs in pot with the lid closed for 12 minutes,
Drain the water and cool the eggs under running cold water.
Peel the eggs in water.
Clean the shell and cut vertically half with sharp knife
Take egg yolk out carefully and clean the egg white.
Mix egg yolk with the mayonnaise
Stuff the mayonnaise mixture in the plastic bag.
Cut the corner of the bag and pipe the egg yolk mixture in the egg whites.
Dish up the eggs and garnish with parsley.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Food art class for toddler with parent

A regular instructor of food art class got sick and I was asked to teach "Edible Messy Beginnings!Ages 14 month-2 Years with adult". Today I taught the first class out of 4 classes.
It was messy but little students had fun and tasty snack. If you are looking for fun activity with your baby and don't care making mess, this activity is for you. You need custard pudding and food coloring to make colorful paste and dry rice paper which you can purchase at Asian grocery store.  Have fun!
Rice paper can be used to make salad rolls by dipping into warm water to soften and fill your favorite vegetable and meat filling.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pizza cooking on 2012 Election Day

My husband and I met two people and cooked Pizza at Prune Kitchen on 2012 Election Day. I prepared dough and tomato sauce ahead. Pizza was the perfect food to cook fast. They are members of my cooking meetup. I was disappointed only two signed up. But it turned out to be very pleasant night. We enjoyed freshly baked pizza and conversation. It was a great way to spend on the Election Day. 

I made pizza dough using Bread machine Pizza dough recipe from Rombauer and Becker version of Joy of cooking book. This is one of my favorite recipe book.
In case that you decided to buy a bread machine to make the pizza dough, here is the simple version of the recipe:
Set Dough cycle on the machine:
Add the flowing ingredients and start the cycle:
2 ½ (3 ¾) Cups of bread flour
½ ( ¾) teaspoon salt
1(1 ½) teaspoon active yeast or ¾ (1) teaspoon quick rising yeast
2(3) teaspoons Olive oil
1 (1 ½) cups water
(Large dough)

Have fun baking pizza.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

White, brown, Omega-3 added, or organic?

 I am talking about eggs. So many choices of eggs and it is very confusing.
My Japanese friend buys organic eggs delivered to her house weekly. She thought organic eggs and eggs from free range chickens are the same.  I like taste of free range chicken eggs. The yolk from free range chicken is often orange while yolk of regular chicken is  lemon yellow color.  Color of yolk depends on what hen eats.  According to Georgia egg commission website , most consumers of US prefer yolk to be yellow or gold. I heard on radio that there is egg shortage in  Mexico but Mexican people don’t like buying American eggs because yolk is light yellow.
Egg’s shells vary in color and size. Brown eggs are better than white eggs?   According to USDA fact about shell egg product,color of egg shell  is determined by the breed of hen and the both eggs contain about the same nutritional value. 

When you buy eggs, you look at the surface of eggs. The fresh egg shells are rough while old egg shells are smooth and shiny. Freshness of eggs are also tested by looking at cracked fresh egg on plate. If yolk is round and domed out, the egg is fresh. If the yolk is flat, it is not as fresh.  Older eggs are easy to peel when they are boiled.
Here is how I cook perfect boiled eggs.
In a  deep pot, add cold water and eggs which is at least 3 days old. Close the lid on the pot.
Cook the egg in the water over medium heat to boil. Turn off the heat, and leave the egg in closed pot for 7 minutes for medium and 10-14 minutes(depends on the size of the eggs) for hard cooked eggs.
Drain the water and run cold water over eggs to cook them to prevent over cooking,
Over cooking will cause green coloring around the yolk.

Photo of eggs in shells are my favorite eggs of free range chicken and yellow yolk of brown egg and orange from free range.

Lastly, I found quite interesting and informative website about eggs and chicken.
  • Detailed chicken breeds and eggs color, Henderson’s Chicken handy Dandy Chicken chart

  • Recipes and technique how to cook eggs

  • "Are some eggs safer than others?"
  • "Cage free VS battery cage eggs" 

  • A guide to choose eggs from Ontario farmers 

Which eggs will you buy after reading this?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bok Choy flower is delicious

I planted Bok Choy in my backyard.  There were too many of them and started blooming. I found that the flower of Bok Choy is edible. I boiled it and mixed with soy sauce and sesame oil. I served it when I invited my Japanese friend to lunch. The boiled Bok Choy was delicious. She and I liked it. They tasted bit like Chinese broccoli. 
Here is the recipe:

Boiled Bok Choy with soy sauce and sesame oil
A bunch Bok Choy flower with stem(4-5 inches long)
1 quart of water (Less water is OK)
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 Table spoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1.       Wash and clean Bok Choy flower with stem. If stem is too large, it may be too hard to eat. Leave the small tender stem and cut of the rest.
2.       Boil water and add the salt
3.       Add Bok Choy flower
4.       Boil 3-5 minutes or stem is tender. Take out the larger stem and pinch it to test it.
5.       Take Bok Choy out and drain the water. Cool it for 5 minutes.
6.       In a medium size bowl, mix soy sauce and sesame oil.
7.       Cut the boiled Bok Choy into 1 ½ inches long.
8.       Put Bok Choy in the source bowl and mix.
9.       Dish it up and serve warm.
(NOTES) Adjust amount of soy sauce and sesame oil. Possible addition is black pepper and chili powder.