Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Carrot fries. Hmmmm.

He is not going to be in class early today. Which means I don't have to scramble to get out of the house by 12. Which meant that when I woke up at 10.30 this morning, I had plenty of time to make breakfast. And make breakfast, I did. I love fry-ups. The really greasy, starchy, heart-attack inducing kind of fry-ups. The kinds which Dr. Atkins will look at and faint because of the amount of carbs present. But carbs are not evil. Carbs are my best friend. Well, not just because I'll get all shaky and cold if I don't eat enough carbs, but because they're just so damned good. And an essential carb in every fry-up I make, is fries. Golden, crispy, potato fries. The secret to making decent fries is to boil the potato whole. See, the potato gets boiled and so it's all soft and mealy. Then you slice it into fries and pop it in the pan or oven, coat it with some olive oil and let it brown. It's easier and well, healthier than having to fill the whole damned deep fryer full of oil. And maybe safer as well morning I made not only potato fries but carrot fries as well. You ca make fries out of any root vegetable. As long as it can hold up to frying, it can be made into a fry. Hee.

Serves 1(I know, I know. But hey, I live all by my lonesome.)
1 egg(unless you prefer tofu scramble, then substitute as you wish)
4 very thin slices of firm tofu, patted dry on paper towel. Store the remaining tofu in a container of water in the fridge.
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke(Cold Storage sells that stuff.)
Any regular old cooking oil, NOT olive oil.

Mix soy sauce and liquid smoke on a plate. Add another teaspoonful of water and stir it properly. Coat tofu in that mixture and let it sit in there for about 10-15 minutes. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Fry the egg or tofu scramble. Put on a plate. Add more oil to the pan and put the slices of tofu into the pan. If there's any more marinade in the plate, feel free to sprinkle it on the TOFU, not the oil. Fry the tofu until it is crispy and brown and sort of resembles bacon. You've just made tofu bacon.

Vegetable fries
1 potato, scrubbed clean.
1 Carrot, peeled.
Any other damned vegetable you like.
Olive oil
salt and black pepper
Italian seasoning or other seasoning mixes of your choice.

Peel the potato if you don't like potato skin, otherwise, scrub it very well and leave the skin be. Put the potato into a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for about 10 minutes or until a fork can pierce the potato easily. Drain the potato and slice into thick fries. Slice the carrots into fries as well. Put the carrots in the pan and drizzle olive oil over it and toss to coat. Let it sit on the fire for a while before adding the potatoes and tossing with some more oil. Cook, stirring and doing whatever with the spatula until everything is nice and brown and crispy. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and seasonings.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Rainy afternoons and mango jam.

This afternoon was a rainy and boring one. I woke up from a nap after an assault on the supermarket and steaming and freezing vegetables earlier on. So somewhere between trying to figure out what to do and staring at the state of my fridge in despair, I realized that I had two mangoes which were all ready to go horribly bad if I didn't use them soon. The best thing to do when there are two of the mangoes and one of you is to turn it all into jam. Anyway, the mangoes were kind of sketchy looking all brown and spotted and slightly wrinkled. Not exactly prime eating out of hand condition.

Anyway, for a mango jam, dice up two medium sized mangoes, just slice it in any way possible when it comes to the seed. Measure out to mangoes and add an equal amount of sugar to it, or less if you're anything like me. Stir the whole lot until the mangoes are coated in sugar. Let it sit for an hour. When the hour is up, bring it to a boil on low flame and bring it to a boil, stirring ever so often. Skim off any foam that might turn up. Keep stirring and boiling for about fifteen minutes or maybe a little more. Chill a plate in the freezer and drop a little bit of jam on the plate. When it sets, the jam is ready. If not, just keep cooking and testing until the jam sets. Pour boiling water over a glass jar and its cover. Dry it well and spoon the hot jam into it. Cover and let it cool. I store my jam in the fridge because well, this is the tropics and I'm paranoid about nasty bacteria. The chilled plate idea came from Clotilde on Chocolateandzucchini.com

Monday, April 04, 2005

Tofu and veggies

On Sunday evening, my mother and I decided to give eating out a miss and just stay at home to cook dinner. Since I'm a lazy bugger and can't be bothered to do much marketing now that the exams are near, I had some leftover tofu, veggies and shitake mushrooms, pickled lettuce and braised peanuts. So Sunday dinner was just porridge with the works.

Inspired by Martin Yan and my friendly neighborhood coffee shop, I decided to make something braised in vegetarian oyster sauce. So I took out the tofu which had been in the fridge for about a week and had mini ice crystals on the bottom, cut it into cubes and fried it until it turned a lovely shade of gold. Then I smashed a clove of garlic and sliced up about one thumb sized knob of ginger and dug around for more vegetables. I had bought a pack of baby Kai Lan earlier on to make soup so half a pack of that got their stems sliced off and washed. The shitake mushrooms and got washed and sliced and so did one carrot. Roughly one tablespoonful of oil got heated up in the frying pan and the ginger and garlic went in to fry until they got pretty fragrant. The mushrooms, carrots and tofu followed and were joined by a few generous spoonfuls of vegetarian oyster sauce and some more water. I gave it all a stir and let it sit, covered, simmering for about ten minutes. After that, the Kai Lan was thrown in and a little more water added to let it wilt. The whole load got transferred to my very cute clay pot because I didn't have anything large enough to serve the whole thing in. And there it is, dinner. Pretty simple. Except for the amount of cutting involved. And just in case anyone thinks I'm a fan of Martin Yan, I'm not. He's too perky for my liking. And Cantonese is not Chinese, it is a dialect of Chinese but it is not the Chinese Language.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Bleh

For some reason, everytime I try to cook something other than pasta and a few other things I can cook, it always goes a bust. Sunday night was sort of a bust. Stuff didn't work out, I derailed. Today, I wanted to have a wild salad and tomatoes with herbed goat's cheese sandwich. Didn't work out either. I was still carsick and my blood sugar dipped again so raw food was a no-no. The goat's cheese tasted horrid, the sort of after taste you get when eating mutton and the French bread was all yeasty. Remind me that no matter how nice Delifrance looks, never, ever, ever buy bread from them. Because I know I won't like it. Oh well, I should have know better than to buy cheese at cold storage when I have the tried and true route of going to carrefour. Why can't this country have places where you can buy decent cheese and French bread without paying your right arm, leg and crediting your firstborn's soul? And I mean cheese as in proper cheese like Brie or goat's cheese or fresh mozzarella. Not Kraft's singles. And not the yellowish mozzarella that comes shredded and frozen in packets or in vacuum sealed blocks. Those are for pizzas, I want to eat white mozzarella cheese, thank you very much. And also, to the lady at the deli counter at the Robinson's Cold Storage: When I was asking you what exactly the black stuff on the goat's cheese was, I wasn't asking you to keep pushing me to buy it. I want to know what the heck the black stuff was. It's not a cue for you to keep repeating the question "You want how much?" at me like a broken record. Please try to know something about what you're selling. I'm having a grumpy day. But on a lighter note, coconut praline chocolate I made on Sunday afternoon is absolutely delicious. It's a little on the rich side, but I suppose I could thin the coconut milk out a little. And uh, lighten up on the sugar as well. I've got a thing against sugar.