ginger crisps

Making Ochazuke

To Beverly, Ema and all of y’all patient and supportive human beings,

thank you.

First things first: during my radio silence…I got engaged!

I think it’s safe to say that nobody was as surprised (in a good way) at this development as I was, and between this thing and that, we now have a little more than 5 months until D-day.

Scared? Excited? Nervous? Try going through a roller-coaster of all three simultaneously and it’ll almost come close. Seriously, I don’t know how you girls who’ve been through this did it. I feel like I need someone to constantly hold my hand and tether me to the ground or I’ll just float in a charged cloud of nervous excitement.

On top of that, I seem to have grown an emphatic bone seemingly out of thin air, so bad that I sometimes can’t watch Say Yes to the Dress without tearing up a little when a bride (finally) finds her dress. Really, it’s all sorts of a nuisance, except for the fact that it’s also maybe more than a little kind of nice.

Anyway. I digress.

Because whoever said that nothing is like a wedding to motivate you to getting healthy and in shape (does such a saying really exist?), must not be familiar with the saying easier said than done, because all I ever want to do is stuff my face with the greasiest, saltiest food ever known to mankind. The temptation is great, but you must be greater and push through. And, you know, make this.

This is comfort food that’s light and all kinds of pleasant. It’s a simple Japanese dish made by pouring hot green tea, oolong, dashi or even hot water over cooked leftover rice. You can eat is as is, or top it with a variety of toppings, making it as light or as indulgent as you like. Common toppings include salted or preserved food like tsukemono (Japanese pickles), umeboshi (pickled plums), nori (seaweed), furikake, sesame seeds, tarako and mentaiko (salted and marinated roe), salted salmon and wasabi.

Some of these ingredients are quite hard to get outside of Japan so feel free to change the ingredients and create your own ochazuke recipe. I’m putting kimchi on mine - that counts as something pickled, right? With charred green onions, fried ginger-garlic crisps and delivery-packet bonito flakes from that one time we had takoyaki takeout. Onsen-tamago (hot spring eggs !) too, just because wedding dieting sucks lemons and I like to indulge myself.

Also, if you look closely, the editing is a bit of a hodge-podge situation at this point. Part of it is because I’m out of practice, but also because I’ve just downloaded a new post-editing program and I’m having way too much fun trying it out. Possibly maybe will tell you guys about it and maybe do a little tutorial. We’ll see!

(EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK) OCHAZUKE (serves 2):

[ 4 teaspoon Japanese green tea leaves, but any unflavored and not too strong green tea will do + 2 cups hot water + 1 teaspoon soy sauce + 1 ½ cup warm cooked rice + ½ cup kimchi; storebought or make your own, chopped + 2 green onions, charred in a hot pan with a little oil + bonito flakes + garlic-ginger crisps (recipe below)]

Garlic-ginger crisps:

[ ½ cup peanut oil + 2 tablespoons minced garlic + 2 tablespoons minced ginger + salt ]

In a large skillet, heat ¼ cup oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels and salt lightly.

Put tea leaves in the pot. Bring the water to the appropriate temperature for your tea and pour into the pot. Set aside for 1-2 minute (follow the directions on your tea bag).

Divide the rice into 2 bowls, top with your choice of toppings.

Pour hot green tea over rice. Add a little soy sauce if you want. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

WEEK 2

This week you need to pay more attention for the exercises part, like in the last post I will give you 5 examples of food, drinks etc… you need to choose one of them daily or something which is similar in your opinion.

Food…

1. CHILI-SPICED SALMON 

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz canned salmon
  • 3 cups Bibb lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ avocado, diced
  • 1 pink grapefruit, sectioned
  • 2 slices red onion
  • ½ cup canned beets, drained and diced
  • 10 pistachio nuts, shelled and chopped
  • Dressing
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp orange zest
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 large pinch kosher salt
  • 1 large pinch chili powde

Directions: 

  • Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor, or whisk together until smooth.
  • In a large bowl, combine salmon, lettuce, avocado, grapefruit, onion, and beets. Toss well with dressing.
  • Sprinkle with pistachios.

2. CHICKEN PANINI

Ingredients:

  
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 oz each)
  • ½ teaspoon salt-free seasoning blend
  • ¼ cup fat-free mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 2 teaspoons white or flavored vinegar 
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 4 whole wheat English muffins
  • 4 slices (¾ oz each) fat-free mozzarella cheese product 
  • 4 thin slices red onion 
  • 1 plum (Roma) tomato, cut into 8 slices 

Directions:

  • Heat closed medium-size contact grill for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chicken with seasoning blend. Place chicken on grill. Close grill; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F).
  • Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix mayonnaise, vinegar and garlic powder. Spread on English muffin halves. Place chicken on bottoms of English muffins. Top with cheese, onion, tomato and tops of muffins.
  • Place sandwiches on grill. Close grill, pressing to flatten sandwiches; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until sandwiches are toasted.

3. GRILLED CHICKEN AND PINEAPPLE 

Ingredients:

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded to ¼ inch thickness
  • 1 cup Hawaiian style marinade
  • 6 pineapple rings
  • 6 slices provolone cheese
  • 6 onion rolls, split
  • 6 tablespoons thousand island salad dressing
  • 6 leaves romaine lettuce
  • 6 slices tomato

Directions:

  • Place the chicken pieces into a large resealable bag and pour in the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  • Preheat a grill for medium-high heat. When hot, lightly oil the grate. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.
  • Grill the chicken pieces until cooked through, about 10 minutes, turning once. 5 minutes before they are done, place the pineapple rings on the grill and cook for a couple of minutes per side. Place the pineapple slices on top of the pieces of chicken and top with a slice of cheese. Close the lid to the grill and allow the cheese to melt for a minute. Toast the buns, if desired.
  • To assemble the sandwiches, place the chicken, pineapple and cheese onto the bottom buns. Top with lettuce and tomato. Spread the thousand island dressing onto the top buns and place onto the sandwiches.

4. PESTO, MOZZARELLA AND TOMATO PANINI

Ingredients:

  • 4 ciabatta sandwich rolls 
  • 2  tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2  cup basil pesto
  • 8  slices mozzarella cheese
  • 1  medium tomato, cut into 8 thin slices
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  • Heat closed contact grill 5 minutes. 
  • Cut each roll in half horizontally; brush outside of each half with oil. Spread pesto on inside of both halves. Layer each sandwich with cheese and tomato. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  • When grill is heated, place sandwiches on grill. Close grill; grill 4 minutes or until bread is toasty and cheese is melted. Slice sandwiches on diagonal and serve warm. 

5.  VEGETABLE PIE

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped broccoli or sliced fresh cauliflowerets 
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
  • ½ cup Original Bisquick™ mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper 
  • 2 eggs 

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 400ºF. Grease 9-inch pie plate. Heat 1 inch salted water to boiling in medium saucepan. Add broccoli; cover and heat to boiling. Cook about 5 minutes or until almost tender; drain thoroughly. Stir together cooked broccoli, onion, bell pepper and cheese in pie plate. 
  • Stir remaining ingredients until blended. Pour into pie plate. 
  • Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes.

Drinks…

1. Peach-Thyme Iced Tea

So sweet! You’ll need about 8 medium fresh peaches to get the 6 cups of slices in this recipe.

Ingredients: Honey, fresh thyme, fresh or frozen peach slices, black tea bags, lemon juice, bourbon (optional), thyme sprigs and lemon slices for garnish

2. Berry-Lime Liquado

Buzz fiber-rich berries up in the blender for a refreshing Mexican-style agua fresca.

Ingredients:

Strawberries, blueberries, ice, water, limes, agave nectar, fresh mint

3. Pomegranate Lemonade

This lemonade really packs a punch with the combination of sour lemon juice and tart pomegranate juice. Plus making homemade lemonade means you control the sugar.

Ingredients: Sugar, lemon juice, pomegranate juice, water, ice

4. Homemade Ginger Ale

Get that same crisp taste as store-bought versions (and half the calories) with this simple recipe. Combining a simple syrup made with fresh ginger and club soda will satisfy even the strongest soda craving.

Ingredients: Sugar, ginger, water, club soda, candied ginger pieces

5. Pomegranate and Lime Iced Tea

Make tea time something to look forward to with this tart drink. And not only is pomegranate juice delicious, but it may also have cardiovascular health benefits.

Ingredients:

Boiling water, tea bags, pomegranate juice, limes, sugar

Exercises…

*First of all you need to warm up click here*

Full Body Shaping Workout *<- click on the link for exercises*

! A good thing for your body it’s to do every exercise for 1 minute and after take a pause for 30 seconds and repeat!

8

Pickling Homegrown Ginger

Young ginger is not a common delicacy in the States, but if you can’t buy it from a supermarket, then try growing your own! I just harvested a small cluster from my container. Young gingers are light, crisp, and low in fibrous strands, which is ideal for making GARI…yup, that antiseptic palette cleanser that frequently accompanies sushi.

I gently scrap off the delicate skin. Then, the root is mandolined into thin slices - thickness is generally up to your liking. Blanch the slices in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. The goal is NOT to cook the ginger, but to reduce its pungency and soften the fibers so that it’s malleable and floppy. Squeeze out the access water before stuffing into a jar. Pour in a your solution of RICE VINEGAR, SUGAR, and a dash of SALT into the jar. (Again I defer to your preference of sweetness, though generally gari is pretty tart and sweet.) In 2 to 3+ hours, the pickling should be done and your gari is ready!

NOTE: I suspect some of the store bought gari has been dyed with artificial coloring to give it that extra intense pink, but if you include that hot pink part of the young ginger into the pickling process, it will impart a natural pink hue to the ginger.

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Growing Ginger from store bought: http://hqcreations.tumblr.com/post/53501693951/growing-my-own-ginger

Container growing ginger in my apartment (back in the day): http://hqcreations.tumblr.com/post/53643437999/container-gardening-ginger

3

Ace Attorney Dishes pt. 3!

Pt. 1 / Pt. 2 

Apollo’s Fried Chicken: (Because “a pollo”, duh.) Chicken breast and thigh pieces fried in Paprika batter. Accompanied by a cherry tomato, balsamic vinegar, mesclun lettuce and baby spinach salad. Dipping sauces include lemon salt, garlic aoli, and ketchup.

AJ Ema’s Snackoo Trio: Inspired by Japanese karinto snacks, the original “Snackoo”. A green tea and kinako (soybean powder) parfait with green tea mousse, kinako mochi, sweet soy sauce, kinako crumble, and whipped cream. Sea salt ice cream sandwiched between karinto discs topped with sesame crisp, and ginger/dark brown sugar marshmallows with candied ginger garnish.

Pearl’s Fruit Sandwiches: Three types of sandwiches - An apple, peanut, and whipped cream stacked sandwich, a strawberry-banana sandwich, and a mango-kiwi sandwich. Peanut butter and chocolate dipping sauces.

Apples for breakfast. Morning has birthed me with this craving, this the conspiracy of the gods. Noisy, happy upstairs neighbours. I listen to their well-fed cackle, their morning laughter. A trip to the market. The trees and the soil drenched with the sky’s tears. She. A gentle tune carried on the rain soaked air. She. Silence has become her. I can’t think of the words now, but something like her rising and falling sleeping, alluring curves under the blankets. A bridge-less chasm…Fuji apples are my absolute favourite, but last time they had this awful rubbery texture. Must be the change of seasons. Wasted money. Oh, well, I’ll try something new. Soft those hills and valleys how they glowed under the blue moon of my longing. And the cars wet and muddy with swishing, death defying speeds. Ginger Gold is tasty. Crisp and clean. As was I born. Now alone I in this tomb. And life is pointless without her.
—  A Tale of Apples