Cooking lately

We’ve been cooking a lot lately, and eating out less. It’s partly because I’ve been spending more time at home. And there’s also the motivation to use up ingredients lying around the house. (It also means we run the dishwasher more frequently!)

1) Sticky rice with mangoes – Mexican mangoes are in season! Soak glutinous rice (tons leftover from the 5 lb bag we bought to make glutinous rice ‘stuffing’) overnight in water. Wrap the soaked rice grains in cheesecloth (which we bought but never had a opportunity to use until now.) Steam the rice for 25 minutes, and then unwrap and put rice in a bowl. Take a tiny can of Chao Koh coconut milk, shake, and heat it up in a small pan. Stir in some salt and sugar until dissolved into the coconut milk. Pour coconut milk and stir into the sticky rice. Toast some sesame seeds in a frying pan, shaking constantly so they don’t get burnt. Slice up mangoes, plate with sticky rice, and sprinkle sesame seeds over the rice. (To be authentic, use toasted mung beans instead of sesame.)

2) Crunchy on the outside, gooey on the insides brownies – These are brownies for the people who were science-experiment-types in school. It requires a metal, not glass square pan for the brownies, and an ice bath. As with most brownie recipes, you should double the nuts called for in the recipe.

3) Green tea pound cake – A while ago, I bought a packet of matcha, along with a bamboo whisk, but have never bothered to make green tea to drink. The green tea pound cake recipe I found online was straightforward enough that I followed it to the letter, which I almost never to. It turned out OK, pronounced matcha flavor, hardly sweet, a little dense, but moist enough.

I took it to the phonebank at KSCM, but only a few people tried it. “It’s not mold, is it?” It was green alright – people aren’t used to green cakes. Gladys, the baker par excellence, commented it would taste good with coffee. I was gratified she took seconds! She’d brought in some home made pizelles the day before. Claire (the producer) said it should be paired with shots of vanilla milk shake.

Joe said “it’s pasty tasting”. Definitely didn’t float his boat, since it contains no nuts!

The butter does make it heavy though – it is a pound cake after all. I found a green tea cup cake recipe, maybe I’ll try that.

4) Ice cream cake – Joe’s kind of always wanted an ice cream cake for his birthday. Rather than buy one from Ben and Jerry’s, Baskin Robbins or even Rick’s ice cream, which would be too much for two people to finish, I looked around on the internet for ice cream cake recipes. I tried making a couple of mini ice cream cakes based on a recipe that filled a parchment-lined loaf pan; instead I used a plastic round pint container lined with saran-wrap. It came out marbleized, just like the times I made Auntie Pauline’s lime jello cheesecake. The components for the ice cream cake layers were crumbled almond biscotti (for the base), chopped toasted almonds, coffee ice cream, mint chocolate chip ice cream and chocolate sauce that was supposed to harden. As usual, I didn’t allot enough time for the layers to harden. Although it wasn’t pretty, the components tasted good together. I like the concept, because it allows for infinite variation of mix and match in ice creams, crust/base, and add-ons. I think its possible to omit saran-wrapping the inside of the plastic pint container, maybe a little rinse with hot water over the container will allow the ice cream cake to slide out. I’ll try again later this summer, I’m sure.

5) Spring garlic/green onion sauce over pan-friend tofu squares. The trick with tofu is to take it out of the storage water and put it on a plate (or flat strainer) for as much water to seep out as possible. Set this up in advance as long a possible.

6) Savory bagel bread pudding – Remember the Seinfeld episode on how everyone likes muffin tops? Well, it’s the same thing with bagels. For Bike to Work Day, I served the donated bagels sliced in quarters, and everyone kept going for the tops, so I was left with a lot of bottoms. So I simply soaked them overnight in a egg/milk mixture, chopped up a nice slice of ham from Dittmers, shredded a chunk of cheddar, chopped up a broiled portabella ‘shroom and mixed it all up to bake. It was lacking in green, but it was ooey-gooey tasty.

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