Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Brewmaster Dinner is Great.

This was my second time attending the Brew master's dinner. Early Summer I attended and the food and beer reflected the late beginning of summer. There were a lot of fresh vegetables. The seating was at round tables. This event reflected the Harvest time with heavier beers and food. The seating was family style with long tables. I liked this arrangement, because I was able to see and talk to people. I recommend this to every one who loves good beer and food.
By Daniel

Brewmaster's dinner at Hales Ale

I had opportunity to join the feast of four courses brew master’s dinner at Hales Ale. The brewery is one of the best and popular breweries in Seattle. The last time we came to Hales Ale was with my English neighbors who like to drink beer and they loved the Hales Ale beer.
I was curious what will be served with crafted beers.
There were about 40 guests for the dinner. The owner of the Hales Ale, Mike Hale, made the opening speech to the guests and had the dinner with the guests. He walked around the tables and talked to each guest. I was grateful to have opportunity to hear about the history of the brewery, his life, and his beer.
The first beer was the gift from the brewery before the meal. I am sorry to say that I lost my paper that contains the names of beer served and I don’t have a good memory of names.
The first meal was Duck confit with wild mushroom and Garlic custard and smoked Tomato relish. I learned the ‘confit’ meant for French cooking when the chef described that the duck was cooked in it own fat. I learned how to pronounce confit. ( ‘t’ is not pronounced.) With this meal we got bitter golden color ale. The duck confit was very rich and it tasted great with this ale.
The second in the course was Beet, Carrot, Turnip and Parsnip Salad. The chef told us some vegetables were from his garden. It was pretty and crispy salad.
The main course was the choice of Cioppino or Braised Rabbit Stew. I ordered Braised Rabbit Stew for my husband and Cioppino for me. The harvest ale was brought for main dish. Mike Hale told us the beer was made of freshly harvested hop. I tasted the rabbit stew and the meat was tender and soup was tasty although it was too strong and I prefer my Cioppino which made of my favorite

sea foods. I loved this ale the most among others and the beer was very delicious with these meals.
The final was the dessert. Baked Apples with Vanilla Ice Cream, Carmel Sauce and Toasted Pecans!
The dark almost black beer was served. It was my first experience having beer with my dessert. The dark beer was actually good with the apples and ice cream.
We had a great time with our friends having nice dinner with fresh brewed beers. It was the birthday of one of our friends, Lyle whoe is the one who notified us the dinner. We wish happy birthday to Lyle and thank you for having us to the dinner.

I took some photos and posted on my Picasa.
Lastly I like to write how to boil Edamane which is Japanese favorite beer food. Here is the Edamame cooking instructions from my mother in Japan. I think with this method the color of Edamame will stay green .
Boiled Edamame
Frozen Edamame
Water to boil
Pinch-1tea spoon Salt
Cooking Instructions
Boil water
Put Edamame into the boiled water.
Cook and boil the water with Edamame for 3 minutes.
Drain the water.
Sprinkle salt over Edamame and mix.
Serve it warm.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Scones and Baking Powders

I baked scones for Sunday breakfast. The recipe in the cookbook used baking soda as one of the ingredients. I didn’t have baking soda and remembered that my husband once mentioned baking powder is made of baking soda and cream of tartar. So I modified the recipe to add extra baking powder. It was successful.
Then I wonder what is cream of tartar does. I had Joy of cooking 1975 edition to find out. No cream of tartar in Index. I decided to look for baking powder section. Yes. I learned something new about baking powders and baking soda. Probably good bakers know these facts.
This book included much chemistry of baking. I was ignorant in this field. Now I learned a bit from this book. There are 5 types of baking powders in this book, tartrate baking powders, phosphate baking powders, double acting or S.A.S (sodium aluminum sulfate). I learned two useful things from it. One is that if tartrate powder (tartric acid and/or cream of tartar) is used for baking, batter or dough need to be baked quickly and not kept in fridge or freezer. Another thing is when there were no baking powder, use mix ½ teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/3 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt in exchange of one teaspoon of baking powder. This mix needs to be used quickly once it is mixed with liquid.

Fumikob's Scones Recipe

3 ¼ cups of flour
2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
3 teaspoon of double acting baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 TBSP chilled butter
3 TBLSP sugar
1 Cup milk
(Chocolate chip or raisins, optional)
Cooking instructions
Preheat oven to 425 degree.
Combine first 4 dry ingredient and shift.
Add the dry mix above into food processor and mix
Cut butter into small pieces and add and process in the food processor.
Add sugar and milk and process to mix.
Take out the dough on the floured surface.
Add raisin or chocolate chip (optional)
Knead dough and ½ inch thick round
Cut 12 pie shape
Bake for 10 minutes

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Plates and food

I think plate is like a dress and the food on it is the naked body. If simple food was dished on the gorgeous plate, it becomes more fancy and expensive looks. Plate is also like canvas waiting to be painted. Chef is the artist and food is the paint. When the chef chose the right plate for his food and used perfect color coordination between his food and plate, his food become art. The simple plate may look good for colorful dish while simple food may look good on colorful plate.
I love buying plates to dish up my food. When I lived in Japan, I often visited a store which sold inexpensive place made locally. I collected purple, green, yellow, and blue plates for my food.
I still cannot resist my urge to buy the plate when I saw unique and artistic plate. I often imagine what can be on the plate. I usually go to my favorite second hand store and go to see plates and china section. I usually buy nice plate around $1. I found nice Black Bloom plate by Noritake and bought it one dollar, yellow cute heart plate for 75 cents, and more.
I posted the photo of the black plate and yellow heart shape plate with the lime cake pudding on it. You can compare the photo of lime cake pudding of the previous blog. You will see the difference. I think the both plates look nice with lemon cake pudding on. Depending on my mood, I select the plate for my dinner. The bright plate may cheer me up in dark winter days and clear glass plates will cool me down in hot summer day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lime Cake Pudding Recipe

I had many lime getting old in my kitchen. I was looking for a recipe which use a lot of lime and is simple to make.
I found one from Betty Crocker’s Picture cook book First edition(third printing 1950 redbook) given by my husband’s grandmother.
According to the page of this recipe, Pudding desserts where pudding and sauce bake in same dish.
It turned out to be right. The cake was top half and bottom half was custard like. I brought the Lime cake pudding to taste to our friends since my sons don’t like any lemony taste deserts and cannot tell me it is good. They loved the sweet and sour taste and told me they liked the aftertaste better than Lime pie. Of course my husband loved it and had his second serving.
My recipe is slightly different from the original.


Lime Cake Pudding

¼ cup shifted unbleached flour
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt (Reduced)
1tsp grated lime rind (Reduced )
¼ cup lime juice
2 egg yolks, well beaten
1 cup milk
2 egg whites

Cooking instructions
1. Preheat oven 350 degree.
2. Shift together the first 3 dry ingredients above.
3. Stir lime rind, lime juice, egg yolks, and milk into the dry mixture above.
4. Beat egg whites to stiffly
5. Fold egg whites into milk and other mixture.

6. Pour the mixture into casserole pan or 6 custard cups.
7. Set the pan or cups in pan of water (1” deep)
8. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
9. Serve warm or cold with or without whipped cream

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Do you make your bread or buy it from the store?

<-On the left my successful bread.

I love my bread-maker. It is convenient to make dough. In less than 2 hours after I dump all ingredients in it, the bread-maker mixes them, knead and raise the dough while I am doing something else. After testing various recipes and making hard or dry bread several times and, I now can make edible tender fresh and tasty bread. Recently I often bake my own bread to save money and save trip to the store. The bread from large bakery doesn’t taste good as home-made except some expensive healthy and artesian bread and one from small bakeries. I found a package of days old store bought bread. It is 12 Grain bread from major bakery. I looked closely at the package. On the package the letters says, No cholesterol, Low in fat, the good bread. I guess it doesn’t say delicious or tasty.
This bread was left on the counter top in my kitchen more than a week and there are no sign of mold or being old. My home made bread would be hard or moldy in 2-3 days after it was baked. Let’s look at the ingredients on the package. There are so many ingredients listed. They are many kinds of flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin mononitrate, Riboflavin, folic acid, water, High fructose corn syrup, …. , dough conditioner(sodium stearoyl lactyate monoglycerydes, calcium sulfate, enzymes, ammonium sulfate, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide),….calcium propionate(mold inhibitor), soy flour, nonfat and dry milk. The bread doesn’t get mold because it include mold inhibitor. Does it change the taste of bread? How about dough conditioner? What is dough conditioner?
I agree this bread includes some healthy ingredients such as soy flower and brown rice among many unknown ingredients. I am not sure all these ingredients are natural and healthy though.
My plain home-made bread usually made of, flour (Un-breached enriched white, bread flower, wheat, barley, or such.), milk or water, oil or/and butter, sugar, salt, and active yeast. Some times I add sour cream or yogurt. Comparing with 38 ingredients listed above( see phtos) my bread only contains 6-10 ingredients. Pizza dough can be made of only bread flour, olive oil, salt, water, and active yeast. Making my bread is time consuming even using bread-maker. It will take 3-4 hours. When I need to include bread in the menu and didn’t have time to bake one, I buy bread. I often look at the label to find out the ingredients of the bread.Some bread from stores doesn’t contain suspicious ingredients or some chemical compounds and are natural, healthy, and delicious. I buy some bread from Costco bakery. I sometimes buy bread from a local Italian bakery which bakes their bread with traditional way although their bread doesn’t taste as good and gets dry the next day. Healthy bread such as artesian bread or Italian bread made of only natural ingredients are available but they are costly, Inexpensive way to serve healthy delicious bread is to find a failsafe recipe and bake my own bread. Also I feel safe to know what are in the bread.


FumikoB’s wheat bread using bread-maker

1 1/8 cup Milk or water
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter or vegetable oil
3 cups of flour (any variety of flour will do but more bread flour does better. Ex: 2 cups Bread flour and 1 cup of wheat flour.)
2 tsp Active yeast
2 TBSP sour cream(Optional but this will make bread moist.)
Cooking instruction
Add all ingredients to bread pan in bread maker.
Set dough setting and make dough.
Take dough and punch down.
Divide the dough into equal two pieces.
Roll the dough into large balls and place into the loaf pan.
Raise it the warm place until double in the volume.
Preheat oven 375 degree.
Bake bread until top browned for about 30 minutes.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin, pumpkin, everywhere

Photo below was taken in Kent,WA

I wonder that how many pumpkin Americans consume and how many were curbed to lantern.
I didn’t eat pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie before coming to Seattle. In Japan, I cooked pumpkin with say sauce, sugar, and sake in Japanese soup stock to make Nimono as we do for other vegetables like potatoes and green beans.
I harvested several pumpkins from my garden. These pumpkins look like Kabocha pumpkin. However, it is hard to tell they are Kabocha or other ordinary pumpkin because some seeds are from large yellow pumpkin to be curbed and from composed Kabocha pumpkin seeds which were extracted before cooking and dumped into my composed bin. My father in Japan who is part-time farmer told me that pumpkin can be stored for a long time and pumpkin will be added sweetness several days after the harvest. I had Kabocha pumpkin in last summer in Japan from my parent’s garden, it was cooked Japanese way. It was very sweet and light. In Seattle my Kabocha like pumpkin didn’t taste as good as one in Japan when I cooked it by Japanese way. The reason may be something to do with the number of Sunny days and temperature in Seattle.
I made pumpkin bread from one of Kabocha like pumpkin and it was success and popular among my family and friends. My pumpkin bread recipe is drived from “Joy of cooking” 1997 edition but changed to meet my families taste.


FumikoB's pumpkin bread
1 ½ cups all-purpose flower
1 tea spoons ground cinnamon
1 tea spoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup Cooked and pureed pumpkin
1/3 cup milk
3 Table spoons melted butter
3 Table spoons vegetable oil
1 cup sugar ( half brown )
2 large eggs
Cooking instructions:
Preheat oven 350 degree. Grease loaf pan or muffin pans.
Mix the first 7 ingredients above together.
In food processor, blend well the rest of the ingredients, pumpkin, eggs, milk, oil, sugar and butter.
Add wet mixture above into the flower mixture. Beat and mix well.
Pour butter into the pan and spread evenly.
Bake until a tooth pick inserted in the center clean about 1 hour for loaf pan, 30-40minutes for muffin pans.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Japanese curry using Sauce Mix

I was little bit hesitant writing and posting food blog for a while I have been posting more Japanese blogs which is not food but my experience around Seattle. Please bear my English writing skills.

Now I decided to write some of my modified version of recipes from my favarite cook books, website and sometimes from the box or the bags of the ingredients.


This is Bretzke family’s favorite recipe. You can make your curry from curry powder and chicken soup stock. However, it will require several hours to make tasty curry. By using ready-made curry sauce mix from the box such as S&B Golden curry, you don’t worry about adding any other spices and make your curry in about one hour. I added garlic to this recipe. If you use pork instead of chicken, I will recommend you to add chopped ginger in addition to the garlic to enhance the flavor. I used S&B Golden Curry here.
Ingredients for 4 people

2-3 Chicken Breast or Thigh
1 whole Onion
1 carrot
4 small potatoes
1 clove of garlic
Curry sauce mix such as House Golden Curry (A half of 8.4 oz)Cooking Oil

Cooking Instructions
1. Peel and cut onion crosswise and chop into small pieces. Peel and chop garlic into small pieces. Peel carrots and cut into bite size. Peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch cube.
2. Heat large frying pan, add cooking oil, and sauté onion slices and garlic above with low heat until they are transparent and started browned. It will take for 15 minutes.
Caution: Do not burn them. It will be bitter if it burned.
3. While onion is sautéed, cut up chicken into about 1 inch square cube. Peel potatoes and carrots, and cut them into similar size pieces.
4. After onion is cooked, add chicken and sauté with Onion with medium heat until chicken is fully cooked.
5. Add potatoes and carrot into the pan and sauté for 5 minutes.
6. Add 3 cups of water into a large stew pot and add sautéed meat and vegetables.
Notes: The amount of water can be varied by the brand of the sauce mix and your preference. If you like thick sauce, add less water than the instruction of the box.
7. Cook the pot with high heat and boil. When grayish bubbles float on the surface of the soup, remove them to clear the soup.
8. Turn the heat down to medium when no longer grayish bubbles form. Cook it until the vegetables are tender. Over cooking the soup will cause potatoes breaking down.
9. Turn off the stove, break down sauce mix into small pieces and drop them into the soup.
10. Melt sauce into the soup completely. If the sauce mix remains on the bottom of the pot, it will cause the curry to be burned easily.
11. Cook and simmer the pot over medium heat stirring constantly to avoid burn. Longer cook this, more delicious it gets. Usually the left-over curry next day tastes better than one you just cooked.