Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Homemade Soda (Orange)

Homemade Soda 

~15 min, 8 hours incubation
Making your own soda is very easy, tasty, and healthy.
Here I've made an orange chai cinnamon ginger soda (with whipped cream of course ^.~ )

1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup strong brewed chai tea (so use several servings)
juice of 3 oranges
15 thin slices of fresh ginger (I like to make large enough slices so they can be easily removed later)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of yeast
Tightly sealed 2 Liter bottle

First brew the tea and dissolve a few tablespoons of the honey in the warm water. Meanwhile juice your oranges. Simmer the orange juice on low and stir in honey until it just dissolves. Immediately remove from heat and put everything together except for the yeast: tea, orange mixture, cinnamon, and ginger. Wait until the juice has cooled a bit and is only warm (enough to hold your finger in it comfortably) and add the yeast.

Transfer to the 2 liter and try to squeeze some of the air out to make space for all of the carbon dioxide the bacteria will be producing (Don't fret too much about this, just give it a little squeeze). Leave the juice out on the counter for at least 8 hours before consuming.

After 8 hours throw it in the fridge to slow down the function of the yeast. Make sure to release the pressure every now and then. Keeps for about 2 days. If you wait to drink the soda it starts to develop a slight beer like taste. Serve topped with whipped cream :)

See the fizz?

For ginger ale, there is a great recipe from Monika Kotus here: http://www.monikakotus.com/2010/07/homemade-ginger-ale-two-ways.html

Friday, May 10, 2013

Leftover Asian Food Nabe

Nabe is a type of Japanese hot pot where random ingredients are cooked together in a communal tabletop cooker. Meals are started by everyone putting their favorite raw ingredients in and waiting for them to cook in a broth and then eating them as a stew. I've been making Asian food this week and have a lot of random leftover ingredients. I don't have a tabletop cooker, so I cooked all of my ingredients on the stove to make a quick lunch nabe.
~30 min

No pictures for this one sorry. But it was still very tasty!


  • green onions
  • one egg per person
  • mushrooms of any type, the meatier the better
  • chicken or tofu
  • minced garlic
  • chicken stock
  • soy sauce
  • Optional seasonings: rice vinegar, hot pepper paste, dashi, ginger, lemon juice, sesame seeds
  • Your favorite Asian vegetables use at least three: cabbage, carrots, daikon, bean sprouts, potatoes, snow peas, greens:(spinach, bok choy, carrot greens (very tasty!))
  • Serve with rice or asian noodles
For tastier meat and tofu marinade in soy sauce and a little rice vinegar for about an hour. Chop up all of the vegetables. First cook the chicken in a deep dish or large frying pan with some sesame oil over medium heat. Add carrots, potatoes, tofu, cabbage, daikon and cook for about 5-10 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables to the pan. Immediately add enough chicken stock to just cover everything (supposed to be more like a stew instead of soup). Add seasonings. (I like soy sauce, a little rice vinegar and spicy pepper paste.)

Keep on a low boil until everything is cooked, about 10 -15 min. Finally whisk the eggs in a bowl. While the soup is still rapidly boiling, take a fork and trail the eggs through the broth. Don't stir until the eggs are fully cooked so you create thin strings of eggs in the broth. 

Serve with rice or noodles. Typically people will place their rice or noodles into the broth in their individual serving bowls as they eat to soak up the juices. Very hearty! 

Salmon cakes

A quick weeknight dinner recipe that stretches frozen fish to feed more mouths. ~30 min
The cakes cooking

Leftovers for lunch the next day


  • Tbsp of sesame oil
  • one piece of frozen salmon (~6 oz)
  • 2 eggs
  • one cup uncooked oats
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped onions
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • garlic, salt and pepper to taste
Defrost and cut the salmon and onions into small pieces. Combine everything but the sesame oil in a mixing bowl. In a frying pan with a lid, spread the sesame oil around and turn on medium heat. When the oil starts bubbling grab a handful of the salmon goop, form a patty and slap it into the pan. Fill up the pan with several cakes and then cover. Cook for about 5-10 minutes until they start to brown. Uncover and flip. Cook uncovered until browned on the other side. 

I usually eat these with ketchup and serve with broccoli. Melting some mild white cheese on top can also be tasty. 

Makes about 5-6 cakes. ~30 min 

Jam tarts

A great dessert recipe for an empty pantry. ~1 hr
Even though my pictures are not very appetizing these are wonderfully delicious :)

  • 8 oz all purpose/plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4oz butter 
  • 2-3 tbsp cold water
  • Any fruit jam (or curd or I used thinly sliced cooked cinnamon apples)
  • A little extra butter for greasing

Mix the flour and salt separately. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture to form a dough using your hands or a food processor. Add just enough water to get the whole mix to stick together. 
The trick to making this dough is keeping it cold. So usually tossing everything into a food processor is the best way to go. However, for those of us without fancy kitchen appliances (that's me!) making this can require a bit more effort. 
 I've found the best way to do this by hand is to mash everything together until the butter chunks are not so blatantly obvious. It is fine to have some small bits in there because these pockets help make the dough flaky. Unfortunately you will notice an immediate problem after you complete this step: the dough is too warm to shape nice little tarts because it won't stop sticking to your hands. :p

So to overcome the sticky goo issue:
1. lightly grease a cutting board
2. press the dough onto the cutting board until it is about a cm or two thick
3. throw in the freezer for about fifteen minutes
4. take a flat broad knife, I use my santoku, to cut out a circle about 2 inches in diameter and scrape it off of the cutting board. I like to just leave the cutting board in the freezer and work with one tart at a time.
5. fold/knead the dough a few times! this creates the flaky layers=very important
6. At this point you can make a single tart out of this portion if the dough is not too sticky and forms shapes well. However, if it gives you problems, press it flat on the cutting board again in the freezer until it is cold enough to work with.

Now go ahead and preheat the oven to 350. I like to wait until later to preheat the oven because the most time consuming part of this recipe is shaping all of the tarts. 

To form them I usually press them as flat as I can without tearing them (a few cm) and then roll the edges a little to form a lip to prevent jam spill-over.
Now fill (don't overfill them!) and cook for about 15-20 minutes. The edges of the cooked tarts won't brown very much, so give them a good poke to see if they are done. 

Makes about 20 tarts about 2 inches in diameter.

Adapted from: http://britishfood.about.com/od/eorecipes/r/jamtarts.htm