Showing posts from December, 2009


Ochazuke combines two quintessentially Japanese ingredients, plain white rice and green tea. Ochazuke is commonly served at the very end of an elaborate Japanese full course meal. It's also favored as a midnight snack, a hangover cure, or just when you want something hot and filling. It's commonly made with leftover rice, though ideally the rice should be heated up if it's cold.

The stuff that goes on top makes it flavorful. Nowadays most people use ready-made ochazuke packets, from companies like Yamamotoyama. These come in flavors such as pickled plum, salmon, wasabi and sea urchin. If you can't get a hold of such packets, here is a recipe of sorts. It's basically about rice, tea and "stuff" on top. Despite the fact that this is a make-in-a-minute kind of thing, the very Japanese-ness of the "stuff" that goes on top makes authentic ochazuke a rather difficult dish to assemble outside of Japan, unless you have a Japanese food store nearby.

Mushroom Puffs

One of Tammy's favorite appetizers.

An intensely flavored mushroom-wine filling, a simple custard, and voilĂ --miniature, quichelike puffs. Notes: The filling may be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge. Pastry rounds may be made through step 2 and frozen on plastic-wrapped baking sheets for up to 1 week (thaw in the refrigerator before filling and baking) or refrigerated up to 1 day.
Ingredients1/2 Tbs butter1/2 Tbs olive oil1 Tbs minced shallot (about 1 small)1 Tsp minced garlic (1 or 2 cloves)1/3 lb button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and finely chopped2 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried1 Tbs Madeira1/2 Tbs soy sauce1/2 lb chilled puff pastry1 egg1/4 cup heavy cream DirectionsMelt butter with olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring. Add mushrooms and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms stop giving off liquid and start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add Madeira and soy…

Easy Soft Pretzels

The only thing better then hot pretzels are homemade hot pretzels.
Ingredients1 loaf frozen white bread dough, thawed (recommended: Bridgford)Flour, for dusting surface1 egg, beaten1/2 cup coarse salt DirectionsDivide dough into 14 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 16-inch rope, and then form into a pretzel shape. Transfer dough to the refrigerator until ready to boil.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add pretzels, 3 at a time, and cook until pretzels rise to the surface, about 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Arrange pretzels 3 inches apart on buttered sheet pans. Brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with coarse salt or with choice of toppings. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned.Topping Options:Garlic Cheese Pretzels1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan1 Tsp garlic powder
Roll out dough into ropes, form into pretzels, and poach as directed above. Arrange on buttered sheet pans, brush with beaten…

Honey Buttermilk Cornbread

This cornbread browns nicely in the hot oven. For a crustier cornbread, heat the pan while the oven preheats before pouring in the batter.
Ingredients1 1/2 cups flour1 1/4 cups stone ground cornmeal2 1/2 Tsp baking soda1 1/2 Tsp baking powder1 Tsp salt3 large eggs1 cup buttermilk1/4 cup melted butter, cooled slightly1/4 cup honey DirectionsHeat oven to 425°. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan or spray with baking spray.Combine the flour, meal, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the buttermilk, butter, and honey. Pour the egg mixture into the dry mixture and stir just until combined. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.