Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Japanese potato salad


It's summer time. It's time for picnics and bbqs. It's time for cold beers and short shorts. Even though the cicadas will soon be out, it's still one of my favorite times of year.

I never really liked potato salad, but I always liked this style recipe. It's a slightly different take, using japanese quick pickles instead of relish, and using kewpie mayonaise. Kewpie is a slightly sweet Japanese mayonaise. (The three cultures that like mayonaise most in the world are the Dutch, Americans, and the Japanese).

Potato salad is one of those foods that you can't provide a recipe for. Everyone prefers it a particular way: more or less salt, more or less mayo, soft or firm potatoes, etc. What I give is just a suggestion of how I enjoy it.

Note: a more expensive version uses mentaiko (spicy cod roe), which is great. In that case, I would omit the bacon.


Japanese Potato Salad



Ingredients
  • 1 lb new potatoes
  • 3 carrots, cut into batons and blanched
  • 3 japanese cucumbers, sliced and salted
    1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • mayonnaise or kewpie mayo
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 4 - 6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shichimi
    Optional: thick cut bacon or ham

Ingredients
  1. Boil potatoes with skins on in salted water until tender. Blanch carrots until slightly tender but still firm.
  2. Meanwhile, thinly slice cucumber and salt until biting into one tastes quite salty. This will draw the water out of the cucumbers. After 20 minutes, squeeze cucumbers in your hands. They should now be slightly salty and quite crunchy. If they are not crunchy, squeeze them again. If they are too salty, wash them and squeeze again.
  3. Gently break up cooled potatoes into large chunks, tossing gently with carrots and cucumbers. They should be more like smashed potatoes instead of cubed. Some large pieces, and some soft smashed parts
  4. Mix mayonnaise and curry powder with the vegetables and eggs. Add cubed bacon/pancetta or ham if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  5. Garnish with shichimi

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Great depression one pan Chocolate Cake - no milk, eggs or butter


I was on Pinterest and found a recipe on Sweet Little Bluebird for this cake. It was described as a "Great Depression Cake" because it has no milk, eggs or butter. I imagine coco and sugar would have also been expensive during the depression, but I figured I would give this cake a shot.

We were out of milk and eggs when I made this cake last night, but it did not disappoint. I usually don't like making vegan desserts because it involves weird ingredients like Earth Balance, soy milke or egg replacer, but this didn't have any of that. Totally my kind of vegan cake. It was very moist with a dense, almost sticky crumb. Even the frosting is vegan (and it's one of the easiest frostings I've ever made)

I'll keep this cake in my arsenal for anyone with egg allergies.



Great Depression Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cup AP flour
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened coco powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup water

Ingredients for frosting
  • 4 oz semi sweet chocolate
  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix dry ingredients in an ungreased 8 inch square pan (I used a 9 inch round pan)
  3. Make 3 small wells in the dry ingredients. Add vinegar, vanilla and oil to each well and pour water over the top. Mix well until smooth
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until set in the center
  5. Meanwhile, put chocolate and peanut butter in a double boiler. Mix until smooth
  6. Pour over cake and let cool. Eat and enjoy.

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