Octopuscarwash's Gourmet Adventures

I live to eat. Yes, I am an Asian Jew. My favorite meal is breakfast (oatmeal in particular). I'm only in high school, so I am a complete amateur. Some of my favorite cuisines are Middle Eastern, Moroccan, Japanese and Korean. I eat so much Chinese food that it's hard to say whether I like it or not... all I know is that I don't like what most of America seems to think of as Chinese food, Panda Express. I'm a pescetarian and love coming up with my own healthy fusion food.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Swiss Chard and Yogurt Cheese

february near set 120 I know I haven't been blogging, but sometimes, you taste something so delicious, you just want to run to your computer and remember it.

Tonight's dinner was a supper for one, thrown together in about 30 minutes based on what was in the fridge:

-couscous and leftover vegetable tagine (with chickpeas, sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, celery, zucchini, and caramelized onions)

-Sauteed rainbow chard with garlic, roast peppers, caramelized onions (both made by my mom earlier in the week), raisins, cinnamon, cumin, and the key component, some yogurt cheese (labneh) stirred in at the end.

The yogurt cheese made the consistancy so creamy, almost like an Indian spinach dish. It was sweet, sour, a little spicy, and wonderful with the couscous.

And I couldn't help it-- I had to satisfy my hummus-- Kashi cracker craving.

I'll be back sometime. When, I don't know. Life is good.february near set 119

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Fine February Filled with Food

How's that for alliteration?

Breakfast:february 008february 009

february 006 february 007 Hazelnuts and chocolate peanut butter

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Frozen dumplings = the easy way outfebruary 023

Steamed vegetarian for me

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Potstickers for them

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february 024 Tofu glass noodle soup with celery

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I made this one: a menu straight out of The Flexitarian Table (all hail)-- mushroom barley soup, vegetable gratin (but i used way less cheese) and fennel and red onion salad.

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Dad's creative use of packaged curry mixes:

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Shrimp and onions, broccoli, mushrooms and tofu, both with different kinds of coconut curry sauces.

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Mom's doing: pasta with mushroom tomato sauce, cauliflower with pine nuts and raisins

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A Typical Sunday Brunch in the Octopus Household

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Seniors went on getaway, so we juniors ate!

Did I mention my Bio teacher and I share a special bond? Yep, he's one of the biggest foodies I know. He and his wife make their own sourdough, INCLUDING the starter, which they make with fermented grapes! He also made his own fatty tuna sashimi with freshly grated wasabi.... talk about hardcore!

The other day he came up to me in the hallway and said with a completely straight face, "Most decadent dinner ever. Cubed pork shoulder, marinated overnight in salt, pepper, and fennel seeds. Then roasted in the oven for four hours in olive oil and served on a bed of arugula." He's quite a character.february 045

Anyways, my point is that on Monday the seniors went on Getaway and since Bio is first thing in the morning, we decided to eat. The food spread:

I brought homemade granola, applesauce, and a chunk of leftover coffeecake. There was also orange juice, chocolate peanut butter cookies, and he brought a clementine cake.

All I ate was the cake, but it was divine! He said the only ingredients were eggs, ground almonds, and boiled clementines (and sugar, I presume). It was so full of eggs that it was almost like the inside of a souffle: impossibly moist yet cakey. It was sweet like a lemon square, but bitter because of the citrus zest. It was amazing.february 039 february 041 february 048 february 042 february 043 february 046 february 047

Best class of my life...

Japanese for One

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I must say, I'm excited. I have virtually no experience cooking Japanese food, but since my parents and uncle went out to Chinatown for dinner and I was in the mood, I decided to try my hand at it. Here's what was on the menu (I added a twist to both items):february 085

Salmon and Green Tea rice (I subbed the rest of our smoked trout, since the recipe called for salted salmon fillets anyway). Basically, I heated leftover brown rice, brewed a pot of green tea (leaves, not bags, thank you very much), chopped up the trout and a few umeboshi plums, poured the tea over the rice, then topped that with nori and a little bit of wasabi.february 088

Gomae (usually with spinach, but i used rainbow chard). You blanch the greens, then squeeze out the liquid and serve them with a sesame dressing (I used Chinese sesame paste, soy sauce, and a little honey, diluted with water).

Of course edamame was necessary!february 090

I didn't intend for this to be such a fancy (ish) meal, but I got a little carried away.

The verdict? Well, the gomae was DIVINE... it really tasted like it does in restaurants, and I couldn't believe how easy it was. I also can't believe I ate an entire bunch of chard BY MYSELF.

As for the green tea rice (I hope it doesn't keep me up late-- I just realized how strong that tea was), it seemed to get worse every bite. It's not to say it was bad-- in fact, the first bite was divine, especially because I love soupy rice. The problem is that I let the tea steep for WAY too long... it was impossibly bitter, and the wasabi didn't help much. In fact, I didn't feel it needed wasabi at all. My wasabi was also that crap that comes out of a tube. It's definitely an idea I'm going to play with, but I couldn't even eat half of it!