Homemade udon noodles

Recipe from Jun’s Kitchen

  • 300g flour
  • 140ml water
  • 15g salt (optional)

Sift the flour. Add water and salt. Knead until smooth. Let rest for an hour (optional). Roll out on a floured surface to a diameter of ~16 inches. Fold into thirds and cut into noodles about 1/4 inch wide. Boil for 10 min.

Unfold the noodles before boiling. The ends can stick together.
Good view of our kitchen.
Eat with dashi, green onion, a hard-boiled egg, and fried… something!

Best pizza we’ve made :o

We used the quick bread recipe, but let it ferment overnight in the fridge to get better flavor. Besides good dough, I think the keys to good pizza are salty toppings (hence the bacon; the margherita used especially salty cheese) and putting the oven as high as possible.

We’ve forgotten to use an upside-down cast iron pan as a makeshift pizza stone the last few times, but that seems to improve the crust as well.

Zucchini-bacon.
Margherita with homegrown basil!

In other holiday news

Our jack-o-lantern for Halloween. This pumpkin was intended for eating but it starting molding, so it was repurposed. I wanted to put the pumpkin in our window, but J was worried about setting the apartment on fire. Besides that issue, the pumpkin was too small to be very visible over the windowsill.

The Thanksgiving spread!

Full menu and recipe info here.

All the dishes
J’s plate (rice, chicken, Sichuan potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and stuffed mushroom)
Chicken braised in soy sauce and coke. The consensus was that, while good, the result wasn’t worth the extra cooking effort compared to, say, just roasting the chicken. We did decrease the amount of soy sauce and sugar in the braising liquid; I presume not doing that would produce restaurant-level seasoning (i.e. very salty and savory).
Stuffed mushrooms. Good as always!
Sichuan matchstick potatoes. A bit overcooked
Brussels sprouts with bacon, hazelnuts, and dressing. A bit more vinegar or salt would be good, but overall quite nice
Pumpkin soup. It seemed no matter how much liquid I added, it never got to soup-consistency. And I didn’t want 2 gallons of soup.
Fried radish greens and walnuts, for topping soup
Buns
Pumpkin pie. Something went wrong with this one and it didn’t taste amazing, likely because we used fat free evaporated milk (bought in the midst of the first pandemic-induced panic buying spree with no option to get the normal full-fat version)

Sweet potato puffs

These also didn’t get made for Thanksgiving, but previous batches have been delicious!

  • 1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • Cornstarch, other refined starch, or flour

Boil or steam sweet potatoes. Mash well. Add rice flour. Form mixture into balls (~4 cm in diameter). Coat in cornstarch and deep fry until browned.

Tips

  • I like putting the sweet potato through a mesh strainer to remove large skin pieces and fibrous sections.
  • You may be able to use refined starches in place of the rice flour, though the rice flour gives a particularly nice bounce/chew, mochi-like.
  • These are good as dessert or as a savory side dish!

Bird stuffing

My family’s recipe, I think from my dad’s side. We didn’t end up making it for our main meal, but maybe tomorrow!

Made “tomorrow”. I added chicken fat for some extra flavor, since this wasn’t cooked inside a bird.
  • 8 slices bread, cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 apple, cubed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning (combination of sage, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and nutmeg)
  • Approximately 1/2 cup milk
  • (Optional) 3-4 boiled or roasted chestnuts, chopped

Mix; should have a pasty consistency. Don’t add so much liquid that it pools at the bottom. Stuff into your poultry or bake alone in a dish. If cooking alone, bake ~40 min at 350°F; if cooking inside a bird, cook until the bird is done.

Tips

  • Add other veggies or nuts for more texture
  • Add more eggs and milk (or cream) to make a savory bread pudding.

Stuffed mushrooms

We air-fried.
We used bigger mushrooms – these are portobellos.
  • 6 to 8 larger Baby Bella mushrooms (may use extras for extra stuffing)
  • Olive oil or other liquid fat
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bread crumbs
  • Onion
  • One salty cheese, such as parmesan, and a melting cheese, such as Colby or cheddar
  • 1 egg

Remove the mushroom stem (reserve). Grease the mushrooms all over and turn them upside down ready to be stuffed.

Chop the mushroom stems (plus extra full or partial mushrooms, if you want) and the onion. Cook in butter until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add bread crumbs, Parmesan, and the egg. For decorative bread pieces, you can add some additional small dry bread cubes after mixing in the egg. Stuff the mushrooms and top with slices of the non-parmesan cheese. 

Bake for at least 30 min at 350-375°F in a closed container (casserole dish with lid or aluminum foil). May remove the top near the end to encourage browning.

Blintzes

My first time making blintzes!

The first crepe was a little lumpy, but we improved!
Cheese filling

Base recipe is from Joy of Cooking, with modifications and recommendations from my mom.

The outside crepe (makes 12)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp sugar

Warm together butter and milk. Add flour, and then eggs. Let batter stand for 30 min.

Pour 3 Tbsp batter into a lightly buttered, large, nonstick/well-seasoned pan, lifting the pan and tilting until batter forms an even layer. Cook until top is dry and set, and bottom is lightly browned.

Be careful to avoid forming holes, which will cause problems with leaky filling.

Cheese filling (for 8 blintzes)

  • 10 oz ricotta or other crumbly, moist fresh cheese (e.g. cottage cheese – drained, queso fresco, farmer’s cheese)
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Zest from half an orange
  • 1/2 cup raisins or currants

Blend; thicker is better so feel free to strain the ricotta, add more cream cheese, or omit the egg white if needed.

Fill blintzes from uncooked side of crepes, folding into a rectangular shape. Cook on both sides in oiled pan until browned. Eat with sour cream.

Blueberry filling (for 6 blintzes)

  • 2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Juice and zest from half a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Cook everything together until very thick. Fill blintzes as directed above.

Thanksgiving menu

J and I aren’t going to visit my parents like we’d normally do ’cause of the ‘rona 🙁 Organizing the Thanksgiving meal will be a new activity and, with no established traditions for the two of us, we designed a menu tonight!

This is the menu for two, but we still somehow came up with ten dishes. Not sure we’re going to be able to do all this cooking in a single day…

I will link more recipes as I write them up. Hope y’all’s Thanksgiving plans are coming along, too!

Pretzels

We made pretzels!
Here they are prior to cooking. We had a lot of trouble getting them not to fall apart when we stretched them out.

Here’s the recipe (makes 4 pretzels):

  • 240g (1 cup) milk
  • 3g (1 tsp) yeast
  • 32g (1/6 cup) sugar
  • 28g (2T) butter
  • 6g (1 tsp) salt
  • 370g flour

Heat the milk, butter, and sugar in the microwave until warm (~1.5 min), and mix until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Let it cool to 95F (important so that the yeast doesn’t die), then add the yeast. Mix the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients. Knead. Let the dough rise for an hour. Divide the dough into four. Roll each into a rope about ~36in long (this was really hard) and attempt to make it into a pretzel.

Boil 4.5 cups (1080g) of water and add 60g (1/4 cup) of baking soda. Boil each pretzel for 20 seconds. Sprinkle pretzels with coarse salt.

Bake for 8 min at 450F.

If you do this, hopefully your pretzels will turn out better than ours. We skipped the baking soda bath (and instead just brushed baking soda water on them) and it didn’t turn out quite right. I think it’s probably important. Good luck.