Friday, February 18, 2011

Chocolate Covered Mikan Peels

Chocolate Covered Mikan
8 mikan peels (200 grams of mikan peel, or 4 oranges)
1 cup sugar
300 grams of chocolate
1. Somehow get 200 grams of peels (eat all at once, peel all at once, or consume mikan slowly).
2. Using a knife, and some patience (as well as safety), peel as much of the pith off the peel as possible.
3. Once scraped, gather the peels into a pot and cover them with water (enough to submerge the peels) and boil them.
4. You will need to boil these peels 4 times in just water. Once the water comes to a rolling boil each time, turn off the heat, dump the peels into a strainer, put them back into the pot, and fill with more water before repeating the boiling process.
5. After 4 boils with normal water, pour the cup of sugar into the pot with the peels and boil for a 5th and final time. This time, when the water comes to a rolling boil, give it about 2 minutes to boil the sugars into the peels before turning off the heat and straining the peels.
6. Lay out the peels on a (paper) towel and stick them in the fridge to cool. They need to be cool and mostly dry before the next step. Wait at least an hour.
7. Lay them out on wax paper so that each piece of peel has it’s own place.
8. In a sauce pan, start melting the 300 grams of chocolate over low heat, continuing to poke and stir the chocolate pieces until the whole mixture is smooth and there are no lumps of un-melted chocolate. Make sure that no water touches any bit of this process. Chocolate seizes when it mixes with water, so all you’ll end up with is a dry, burnt, clump of chocolate.
9. Spread melted chocolate over the mikan peels and put in the fridge to harden.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mango with Coconut Sticky Rice

Finally started watching the (weirdly popular) Ryomaden last night. It’s filmed awfully, the special effects are ridiculous, and the acting is worse than an American soap opera…. I’m not sure why we decided to start it, other than because we live in the area the show is about. I guess the only good thing about starting the show is that it forces me to learn a little about the lives of these historically significant people who came from Kochi… of course seeing Ryoma act like a goof IS kinda entertaining so I’ll stick with it for a little while at least.

Our show-time snack of choice last night involved a mango I recently picked up. I’m not terribly good at knowing when fruits and vegetables are at their peak of ripeness… so I wanted to eat the mango before it decided to end itself in my fruit basket and not share its sweet goodness. Unfortunately, I could have waited another day or two before diving into this mango, but I’ve never minded a little tartness when it comes to my fruit.
Mango and Coconut Sticky Rice (5 min)
1 ripe mango, sliced into spoon-able pieces
1 cup rice, steamed in cooker
1/2 cup thick coconut milk/cream
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Creamy Coconut Topping
1 tablespoon rice flour
4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons thick coconut milk/cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds or mung beans
(Makes 3 servings)
This dessert took 5 minutes to make (not including having the rice steamed in the rice cooker) and only involves two saucepans. If you don’t have two saucepans to work with, start with the rice liquid and finish with the coconut topping.

1. Turn your heat on low and add the 1/2 cup of thick coconut milk, 4 tablespoons of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the saucepan.
2. Stir and blend until the sugar has dissolved.
3. Turn off the heat and add this mixture to your just-steamed rice in the rice cooker, massaging the liquid in with a rice paddle.
4. Over low heat, drop a tablespoon of flour and 4 tablespoons of water into a saucepan. Stir until the flour and water have become one, thick, white mixture and there are no clumps of flour left.
5. Add the thick coconut milk, sugar, and salt. Stir until the mixture begins to bubble a little. Turn off the heat.
6. In a bowl, add a scoop of the coconut rice on one side, and a nice helping of mango slices on the other. Pour a helping of the coconut topping over the rice and mango pieces, and finish it all off with a sprinkling of sesame seeds or mung beans.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca Pudding (15 min)
1/4 cup tapioca pearls (1/2 cup once soaked in a cup of water over night)
1 1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
big pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
(Makes about 3 servings)
1. Although this pudding has an extremely quick creation process, it is a dessert that needs some foresight. You don’t need to soak them an entire night, but you do need to give the pearls a few hours (2-3) to absorb some water before cooking the pudding.
2. Put the pearls, soy milk, sugar, and salt into a sauce pan and turn the heat on low.
3. Cook this mixture for 15 minutes, with the heat on low, always stirring and moving the mixture so that it doesn’t form a skin.
4. Once the 15 minutes is up, turn off the heat and move to a cooler surface, immediately adding the teaspoon of vanilla and stirring the pudding well so that the vanilla is blended evenly.
5. Add to containers and cool in fridge.

Monday, February 7, 2011

This is a Fire Door Exit

I've had a lot of odd days recently. And by that, I mean that I've had some REALLY AMAZING DAYS with some really strange low points. Like, I'll have a great day with the Monday Fundays, but just get kinda blue when they're all gone. I miss having a room mate. I'm tired of being alone all the time recently. I miss having someone I want to talk to all the time.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sweet and Sour Vegetables

When me and two of my friends went to Thailand over the winter holiday, we took a cooking class while in Chiang Mai. It was a 7 hour class where they took you to the local open-air market to learn about vegetables, and then took us back to their school (which had an open-air kitchen…. so awesome) to learn how to make 7 different dishes. We learned how to make masaman curry, Thai fried rice, Pad Thai, sweet and sour vegetables, coconut milk soup, fried bananas…. we made a lot of food. The school’s slogan is, “by the end of the day, you’ll feel pregnant” and by jove… they were completely right.
Me and one of the two friends that I went to Thailand with were feeling nostalgic last night, and pining for that balmy 32 degree weather (it has been hovering between 0 and 10 degress here in Kochi recently). So! We decided to take a walk down memory lane and cook up one of the recipes we learned at the cooking school. I could almost feel that sweet sweet sunshine.
Sweet and Sour Vegetables
Goma Oil (for frying)
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 head of cauliflower, small pieces
10-12 baby corn, cut into thin strips
1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
1/2 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
1 tomato, cut into cubes
1 cup chopped pineapple
Cooked rice
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
(Makes 3-4 servings)

1. Get everything cut and separated before you start cooking.
2. Make the sauce and steamed rice before you start stir frying as well. Pour all of the ingredients for the sauce into a small bowl and stir well with a spoon so that the sugar dissolves and the lime juice mixes in well.
3. Heat up the goma oil in a frying pan for 30 seconds on med-high and add the garlic. Fry the garlic for a minute before adding the onions and frying those for 2-3 minutes. The onions should start looking translucent.
4. Turn down the heat to medium and add the cauliflower,  cucumber, carrot, and baby corn to the mix and stir fry for 5 minutes.
5. Add the tomatoes, pineapple and pour on the sauce, coating all the vegetables evenly. Turn the heat down to the lower end of medium.
6. Cover the frying pan with a pot lid so that the vegetables can steam in the pan.
7. Serve over rice.

Friday, February 4, 2011


I could die. Those kids were soooooo effing cuuuuute. and TINY. and they LOVED ME. <3<3

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

5-Ingredient Bread

Home-made bread is just the best thing ever.
Basic White Bread
500+ grams flour
7 grams yeast
2 teaspoons salt
300 ml water
3 tablespoons olive oil
(makes 2 medium loaves)
220 C, 24-35 min
1. Measure out the flour and pour that as well as the yeast and salt into a large bowl and mix.
2. Make a well in the center and add the water and olive oil, starting the mixing process with a fork before diving in with your hands.
3. Use one hand to kneed, and the other to occasionally add bits of flour until the dough is elastic.
4. Let rise for at least an hour.
5. Once it’s risen 1.5 or 2x its original size, punch it down and place it on some baking sheets or in a baking pan.
6. Bake in a 220 C oven for about 25-35 minutes, or until the outside is nice and golden brown.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My oh My...

So, I got kind of excited about class today (for once!) because my fifth grade lesson at Ioki had been canceled due to influenza. All I had to do was sit with the 6th graders for 45 minutes, do one read/listen activity, and let them create stupid skits for the next lesson. Great, easy day! WRONG. About 5 minutes into getting into their groups and writing things down for the scripts, some kid on one side of the room says something, and then another walks up to him, yells, and starts punching and kicking him. He even grabbed his hair.

Yes, this is the first fist fight that has happened during my time here in Japan. I mean, Ioki has a troubled 6th grade class but... they've at least been able to keep it together enough to refrain from REAL all-out fist fights and have resorted to mostly rough play. Today was different. Luckily, there were two teachers in the room, so while my HRT held the kid back from attacking the one anymore, the other ran out to get the Kyoto and Koucho sensei. The kid was thrashing in my HRT's arms, tears flying and cursing the whole time. It got pretty dramatic quickly. One of the girls in the class just waved a hand at me and said "気にしないでよ〜" which wasn't really that reassuring but I did just that and tried to entertain the girl group by telling them what to write in their scripts.

After that disaster or a class, I found out that I was, in fact, supposed to be having lunch with the 1st graders, even though I was told not to bring lunch and eat with them. Instead, the VP took me out to get "Soup Curry" at a place in Ioki called Chez Nous. It was a REALLY cute place, and the soup curry was really yummy. She also decided to buy me some green tea cake to bring home. It was a very strange day. Needless to say, as soon as I start liking my job, the children give me a reason to question why the FUCK I'm feeling that way. Sa...

Me and Matto's trip to Kyoto this last weekend was a lot of fun. We took the night bus at 10:30 on Friday night, and got into Kyoto at 7AM Saturday morning (the bus stopped for two hours to take a rest in the middle of the night). The show started at 12:30PM and went until 7:30PM.... long ass show but the bands were really fun to see. We went mainly for The Lions and Malegoat, but I ended up liking a few other bands I'm gonna have to research. :) We got to stay at Tongu (the singer's) house in Kyoto with a bunch of other guys from Tokyo bands. The after party was fun (even though, I wasn't talked to all that much since I'm not really very knowledgeable about un-known pop punk bands) and we all crammed into an izakaya.

The next day, me and Matto went to a vegan restaurant called "Vege Note" and had an amazing all-vegan lunch. I was impressed with the soup and the curry-flavored korokke the shop made. They also made a wonderful lentil curry that went along with the lunch set. YUMMY!

Other highlights of the 24-hours-in-kyoto included seeing a snack bar named Hiro with the o as a little heart, and the snow falling Saturday night during the show. <3 Can't wait to go back for golden week~