Sunday, 29 July 2012

Lobster and Eggplant Pasta

Pasta served with white wine and homemade bread
In Atami there is a farmer & fisherman's market on Saturday evening. I look forward to this market since they usually sell these mini lobsters. I did a quick check on Wikipedia so take a look for the official name. This is a species unique to Japan.
Mini Lobsters from Japan
 I bought 3 of them -- small, medium and large. Since two were small, I was given a discount of two for one. Total cost was 1,000 yen (about $10 US dollars). Not a bad price!

How to start?  First, cut off the tail since these will be cooked separately later. The long antenna are dangerous so cut those off too.

Slice an onion and par boil several tomatoes to remove the skin. Put onions in the pan and generously sprinkle with olive oil and lightly fry. Add the tomatoes and cook together. Add garlic as you like also.

Now add the lobster bodies to the sauce so that the sauce picks up the rich flavor. Let this cook for 30 - 45 minutes so the flavors are well blended. You can add additional sauce depending on how many you need to feed. I added a can of tomatoes.
Everything goes into the pot!

You can start cooking the pasta at this time too.

After cooking for about 45 minutes, remove the lobster bodies. Put the sauce in a blender &  puree. Put a sieve over the pot as you pour it back in - this removes all of the rough ingredients. Add lobster bodies again and reduce sauce for about 20 minutes.

Be careful putting the sauce into a blender since it is HOT!!
Eggplants in Japan
 These type of eggplant are the most popular in Japan. It is difficult to find the large rounds ones.

Cut off the ends and slice the eggplant in pieces. Put in a pan with olive oil and fry until lightly browned.

To finish the pasta, put the lobster tails ino the sauce to cook. These cook quickly in about 10 minutes or less.

Remove the tails and lobster bodies from the sauce. Stir the sauce and remove anything left from the lobsters.

Remove the meat from the lobster tails.

Put the pasta in a bowl and pour sauce over it. Include eggplant pieces and the lobster tails. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.
Fry in olive until browned





Sunday, 22 July 2012

Chicago Style Pizza

Homemade pizza topped with onions, green peppers & black olives
Pizza in Japan is as popular as sushi. One catch is that you have to get used to the toppings such as squid, corn, or tuna. I think the most offensive topping is mayonnaise.

We can all thank Ernie Higa for introducing Domino's to Japan and making pizza history. Cheese wasn't popular in Japan but for some reason when combined with tomato sauce and a baked crust the whole combination took off and opened whole new junk food & business opportunities.




Homemade Chicago Style Pizza

230 grams bread flour
40 grams corn meal
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
140 grams water
40 grams butter

Enough dough for 1 XXL large pizza (about 35 cm size)

  1. In a bowl, sift the flour, salt and sugar then add the cornmeal & yeast. Add the water. Mix with a bench scraper and spread on a flat surface.
  2. Knead the bread for about 10 - 15 minutes until soft. Add a little more water if not soft enough. Roll into a ball and cover with a bowl on your kneading board for about 10 minutes. 
  3. Uncover and knead in the butter. You can use the bench scraper to 'cut' the butter into the dough and then knead until well incorporated. Dough should be soft but not sticky. Cover again with a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes on the kneading board
  4. Uncover and form into a nice ball and put in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 60 minutes.
  5. Remove from the bowl and flatten to remove the air. Roll into a ball and cover with plastic on the kneading board - let sit for 20 minutes (bench time). After 20 minutes you can either roll out the dough or put into the refrigerator for later use.
  6. Roll out the dough & spread on a pizza pan. Cover with tomato paste, mozzarella cheese, toppings such as sliced onions, peppers, black olives, etc. and finish with more cheese.
  7. Bake at 190 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes depending on the size of your pan. 
Spread the dough neatly in the pan

 Onions, green peppers, black olives & cheese for topping

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Tigre

I haven't seen this recipe in the U.S. or in Japan, but everyone is missing out on a fantastic dessert.

I first learned this at  Le Cordon Bleu and pull it out whenever I need a quick dessert to take to friends.

This recipes makes small mini cakes which can be cut and shared. Total prep time is about one hour - don't be put off on this since they are well worth it.





Ingredients

Egg whites 140 grams (about 3.5 eggs)
Sugar 100 grams
Flour 35 grams
Almond powder 165 grams
Butter 150 grams
Chocolate wafer cookies chopped

1. Lightly butter & flour each of the small pans. Recipe makes about 10.

2. Put the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat and melt until it becomes bubbly then frothy. Heat only until the butter is lightly browned - do not burn. Remove from the pan and cool.

3. In a bowl put the egg whites and start to whip with a mixer. Add  the sugar in portions and mix until stiff.

4. Sift the almond powder and flour together. Add this mixture to the egg whites and mix using a spatula.

5. Strain the butter to remove the grit at the bottom and gradually add to the flour mixture. Mix thoroughly before adding more butter.

6. Use a pastry bag (quick solution is plastic baggie) and neatly fill the tins to about 95% full.

7. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15 - 20 minutes.





Chocolate Filling

Dark chocolate 120 grams
Corn syrup 15 grams
Fresh cream 100 grams

1. Chop the chocolate to small pieces.

2. Heat the corn syrup & cream in a sauce pan until just boiling. Pour a little into the chocolate and mix using a small whisk. As chocolate melts, continue to add more hot cream. If the chocolate has not all melted, put over hot water to melt the rest.

3. Cool until it starts to become thick.

4. Put in a pastry bag with a nozzle and nicely fill in the top of each cake.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Blondie Carrot Cake

Blondie Carrot Cake
This recipe came via the French magazine Saveurs. The company is not generous about sharing recipes online so if anyone is successful to get a subscription, please let me know.


I have to admit, France does have some of the best sweets I've eaten. It gives me great pride though to see them going after American classics like carrot cake & brownies.


Foreign magazines in Japan are expensive. The one I bought with this recipe set me back 15 dollars!!


                                                            
Ingredients:
90 grams white chocolate 
105 grams butter (softened)
120 grams sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
150 grams flour
1 teaspoon ginger powder
40 grams nuts (either sliced almonds or walnuts)
30 grams raisins
10 grams candied ginger (sliced)
70 grams carrots (cut in food processor)
1 teaspoon orange zest

1. Chop the nuts & mix together with ginger, raisins, carrot & orange zest. Sift the flour separately.
2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water.  
3. Whisk the butter so that it is soft. Mix the eggs & sugar well - whisk over hot water so that they warm up slightly. 
4. Add the egg mixture to the butter in portions. Mix with a whisk. Put over warm water so that the temperature does not become too cool. Add in the chocolate in portions - mix together with a spatula. 
5. Use a spatula and mix in the flour. After mixing well, add the nuts mixture. 
6. Lightly butter & flour a square baking pan before pouring in the mixture. 
7. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 25 - 30 minutes.

Icing:
My baking pan

150 grams powdered sugar
1/2 egg (white only)
lemon juice to taste

1. Sift the  powdered sugar. Add the egg white & mix with a whisk. Add lemon juice to taste. Do not add to much liquid.
2. You can add a little ginger powder or candied ginger to the icing also.

You can also use cream cheese icing. The recipe is here.

Dessert is ready!