Sunday, January 17, 2010

Shirouri cucumber pickles

In a tiny Izakaya in Tokyo called Shinsuke is a recipe made known to me via a Christmas present from Myron's god-parents Anthony and Connie. Japanese tapas bars or Izakaya was unknown to me up until last year when we first visited Zakkushi- a local eatery on 4th Avenue and Burrard in Vancouver. My good friend Helen brought us there when we decided to meet and her kids were lovin' the skewered momos and chicken teriyaki don.

Ever since then, I've been learning about these appetizers, morsel-sized and absolutely addictive. This recipe calls for shirouri summer squashes but it's the dead of winter in Vancouver, and we must flex and do creatively what mother nature does not provide. I tried Japanese cukes and they worked out beautifully...which is the reason why I am feeling good enough to blog this publicly. So, if you're feeling somewhat in the mood for a little something on the side, this'll probably whet your appy.

Two Japanese or Korean cucumbers (roughly 6-7 inches)
White sesame seeds
Sesame seed oil

1 heaping tsp sea salt
1 cup (240ml) water

1. Cut off both ends of cucumber, then in half.
2. Core the halves with a sharp paring knife
3. Taking one half at a time, carve the halves into a continuous 1/4 inch (6mm) thick ribbon at a 45 degree angle.
4. Do this gently to avoid splitting.
5. In a medium bowl, make the brine and soak the ribbons until lightly salted, about 1-2 hours.
6. Hang the ribbons to dry where there's a breeze circulating until the skin is a little wrinkled, about 3 hours.
7. Cut into 2 inches in length and add a few drops of sesame oil.
8. Sprinkle sesame seeds and serve chilled.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Pickled Radish

I was in Richmond having dinner with my niece's step grandmother Esther when she offered some of her home-pickled radishes. Now I don't know much about radish, but there's always something about pickling them at home that makes these incredibly delectable. How? It has to be sweet-soury yet, retaining some of its radishy identity- you know, that woody bite. The trick I discovered while pickling my own today, was to make them paper thin. The kind that you can read the newspaper print should it fall on the newspaper.

If you felt like pickling your own, here's the skinny:

Pick a heavy radish (the length from your fingers to elbow)
Slice it paper thin (I use a handy mandolin slicer)
Use 1 Tbsp sea salt to sweat the liquid out
Put aside for 3-4 hours, then drain the clear water out
Mix a quarter cup of rice vinegar (I used Golden Crown Garden brand)
with a quarter cup of sugar
Pour the mixture onto the radish
Put in the fridge for at least 2 hours

You've got a great side dish that goes well with any roasted meat. I had spicy noodles and this was a great cooling appy.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Lemon Squares Recipe

210g Unsalted butter
0.5 cup Icing sugar
1.75 cups all purpose flour
.25 tsp salt

2 cups granulated white sugar
4 large eggs or 5 med eggs
Juice from 2 lemons
2 Tbsp of grated lemon zest (from two lemons)
4 Tbsp All purpose flour

For the crust: Cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Add flour and salt till dough comes together. Press to bottom of greased pan (9 x 12" pan). Bake at 180C (350F) for about 24 mins or till lightly browned.

If you didn't have time to make the crust, the lemon filling recipe is enough for 24 regular tart shells.

For the filling: Beat sugar and eggs. Add lemon zest and juice. Fold in flour. Pour filling into baked crust and return to oven for 25 mins or until filling sets. Cool before dusting the top with icing sugar.