I'm typing this completely stuffed... I find it harder to think about food descriptively when the idea of putting another forkful of anything near my mouth is unwanted. (wow that was difficult to type the word unwanted and food and my mouth in the same sentence) Instead I'm thinking more in terms of ah, that was good. Satisfying. Contentifying.
But I must go on and try because posts have been going on unwritten for far too long now. Why? I've been eating up marathons of master chef and kitchen confidentials. I've been more interested in playing with flames and cooking lately, than baking. I've been floundering about with my convictions and career choices and everyday life decisions (do I toast the pecans or leave them be?) For a week a food blog seemed pointless. Why do I have a food blog if I keep most of my recipes secrets? I started it for me with nobody reading it but myself... Now people do read it, surprisingly. I like that, and I keep food blogging because It is worth it. It's somewhat an outlet and I don't have to give away my secrets just to post about how good other people's recipes are. Also, it is always nice to have people that like your things. :)
Anyways. I have several things to post about...but I will start with my lunch, which was also the day before yesterday's dinner. It is the best chicken I have cooked. It's less about the recipe and more about the technique. I marinaded the chicken in soy sauce, corn starch, shiao xing rice wine, a pinch of baking soda and some oil. I cut the chicken against the grain in thin strips, put everything in a ziploc and let it sit for 30 minutes in the fridge. I put a few tbs of oil in my wok and turned it up to high (8 on my unfortunately, electric, burner) let it get hot enough to smoke and stir fried the chicken until it was cooked only on the outside. I transferred the half cooked chicken to a bowl and continued on to make the sauce with the leftovers in the pan (the little burnt looking crunchy pieces; I believe this is called deglazing?), adding a smidge of oil only if there wasn't any. I then let the chicken simmer in the sauce only until it finished cooking. The pieces were so thin it only took a moment or so. It was fantastic, I was so proud. I have never had chicken that tender at home, chicken breast nonetheless! Wow. It was good. Mm. It was like the chinese restaurant I go to down the street with their velvetey cushions of protein. I am no longer jealous of those. And this is coming from more of a veggie carb type of person. Generally I load up on pasta on this dish and throw in a few morsels of chicken -even then sometimes they're left sitting dejectedly at the bottom of the bowl at the end of the meal. Not this time; I didn't even make the pasta and I couldn't get enough of this. ---
Fast forward 8 hours later; I just microwaved (yeah, not the best way to reheat I know) the leftovers and they are still so good. Ahh, dare I say it doesn't taste like an american cooked it. To me atleast.
For a good kung pao recipe and what shooed me along towards the path of enlightened chicken I would suggest looking at use real butter. Her words are written with clarity and the visuals are stuunning. So, on to a few other odds and ends I have been working on lately.
Kasutera cake. *shakes head* The only thing I can think to say about this is if anyone questions my passion for culinary I will give them the hardest stare with the beadiest eyes that I can muster up and if they dare meet my eyes I will shake my fist and say in a low throaty voice: I stood over a stove and whisked a cake over a bain marie for over 1 hour and 35 minutes with me bare hands!
Then they may call me stupid. But I prefer the adjective determined.
Well, the cake was nice. It was sweet, but not cloyingly so. Fine textured, dense. Eggy. (that was my turn off, but I went in knowing this) Next time though, I'll go buy some to see what it's like. It reminded me somewhat of angel food cake.
Here is the recipe I followed and some more info on this castella character; I did wrap up the cake as soon as it came out of the oven and it ended up being very moist. I managed to do this by putting parchment paper in my loaf pan and had an overhang I could lift up immediately without burning any fingers.
Also, here is a video of people making castella in Japan. I thought the music was a bit funny and melodramatic at the end but after attempting this I completely understand, and feel like they couldn't have picked a more suitable tune. I'm pretty sure I played it to myself to keep spirits high while whisking.
I made this lace cookie recipe from Bravetart, and they are damn good. The flavor was always there but I was not happy with the laciness, so I played and played with the recipe. Basically I halved the recipe and added 2 tsp of liquid and it turned out well. If I added more they would blob together just like a regular cookie. If you like a deep, adult, chocolate flavor then you should like these.
With added liquid
Hmm... what else. Ah, I made this beautiful ciabatta bread. Wonderful. I believe I messaged my rommate "it's moist, in a good way and full of holes" I told myself I would need to find a better way to put that, but I think that says it all. I used an altered version of the ciabatta in bread bakers apprentice -- I will post recipe later, must find it again.
Well, I guess we're up to speed from the past few weeks... I should be posting more often now that I found my... whatever you want to call it, I don't know, but I found it. I'm on a learning kick right now, so I might be going back to basics for a bit... You may see or hear a lot about eggs and cooking techniques for the next, oh, who knows.