Archive for Geography

Sushi at The Key Cooking Class

Today, we conducted another cooking class for teenagers in our town. The theme was sushi (seasoned rice).

Before the class, I prepared Shiitake No Nikata (Simmered Shiitake Mushrooms) and Gari (Sweet Pickled Ginger) to give them time to develop their flavor.

We started the evening by preparing dashi, a light soup stock flavored with kombu (dried seaweed) and bonito (dried fish flakes). We used the dashi in a recipe for Dashi-Maki Tamago, a rectangular shaped omelet, and Miso Shiru (Miso Soup), a thin soup with miso (fermented rice and soybean paste), tofu (soya bean curd) and green onions. Then, we prepared Sakana No Oboro (Sweet Fish Flakes) with halibut fillets cooked with mirin (rice cooking wine), sake (rice wine), shoyu (soy sauce) and sugar.

Finally, we prepared Sushi Rice, cooked medium-grain Japanese rice seasoned with komezu (rice wine vinegar), sugar, and salt in a hangiri, a wooden sushi tub. We wrapped sushi in nori (roasted seaweed) with different ingredients into Maki-zushi (sushi rolled in roasted seaweed). The ingredients included: braised asparagus, the egg omelet cut into thin long strips, avocado, the sweet fish, poached shrimp, and roasted sesame seeds. The sushi rolls were served with a spicy wasabi (Japanese horseradish) paste.


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Tim and Mary Party

My friends Tim and Mary invited me to prepare dinner for Tim’s business friends. Since it was a working week night, we selected dishes that could be served in about 2 hours. Mary prepared Thai Chicken Barbeque for appetizers, Cream of Asparagus Soup for the starting course, and Creme Brulee for dessert. I prepared the main courses which consisted of: Pan-Seared Steaks with a Mustard Sauce, Pan-Seared Scallops and Prawns with a Spinach, Arugula and Orange Salad, Fingerling Potatoes With Aioli, and Carrots and Parsnips Braised in Butter.

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Pan-Roasted Salmon

Wild-caught salmon fillets are coated with coriander seeds, roasted in a pan for a few minutes, and served with a delicate, tangy white wine-orange sauce. Here is the Pan-Roasted Salmon recipe.

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The Ultimate Flourless Chocolate Cake

Today, I visited an overseas friend who taught me some of her native dishes. To celebrate her arrival to our town, I baked her The Ultimate Flourless Chocolate Cake, which has only 3 mandatory ingredients: chocolate, butter, and eggs, and an optional one: coffee liqueur, which I obliged.

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Beef Short Ribs with Tomatoes, Roasted Poblanos and Herbs (Costillas de Res a la Mexicana)

The Latin American grocery store in our town had a thin cut of beef ribs which we prepared into Costillas de Res a la Mexicana, braised in a charming sauce of poblano peppers.

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Home-Rendered Lard (Manteca Hecho En Casa)

I received a gift from my neighborhood butcher — pork fat.
It was rendered into lard that will be used for Mexican dishes. Here is the Lard recipe.

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Apple Galette

Here is Apple Galette, a pastry treat for the holidays.

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An officemate asked me “How do you make muffins rise?” I consulted the reliable Cooks Illustrated and found the following advice: “Make enough batter to fill up the cups for big, shapely muffins.” Here is a Lemon Blueberry Muffins recipe that shows the trick.

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Cream of Potato Soup

  Here is Cream of Potato Soup, a comfort food for the cold Minnesota winter, from MFK Fischer, a comforting food writer.

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Buffalo Wings

Buffalo Wings prepared with free-range chicken make compelling appetizers.

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