pickled jalapenos

Pickled Jalapenos

i read a meme recently
that basically said
the month of August
is like a long Sunday night
for teachers/educators.
while i am not a teacher
this rings such truth for me.
i feel a sort of melancholy that
the summer is half over,
never mind that it’s over a month out.

summers of late
have me pickling,
which leaves our fridge littered
with random jars of experiments.
we tend to have purges
of the most random soured/salted/sweetened
vegs piled high on toast,
the essence of summer in messy, briny bites
during the dark of all other months
where temps don’t go further than 40F.

Pickled Jalapenos

pickled jalapenos
adapted from gimme delicious food

*note: the first time we made this we deseeded the jalapenos and followed the recipe exactly. it was delicious, but the 2nd time we made this i only deseeded half the peppers and i used a rice vinegar instead, because we ran out of the white stuff. still delicious. it has a spice kick to it but that doesn’t deter me from snacking on them. they would be great chopped up and added to tuna or chicken salads, or topped on hot dogs.

1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, smashed & rough chopped
3 TBL sugar
1 TBL salt
7-8 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced, deseeded

wash and slice jalapeno peppers, aim for thin, but it’s up to you. you wanna be careful, the spiciness can stay on your finger tips for awhile, so don’t rub your eyes or other parts of your body. deseed if you want. set aside.

mix all the ingredients in a saucepan. bring to a boil and add the slices. mix it up, make sure all the slices are sufficiently dunked.

carefully transfer the contents of the saucepan to a mason jar. i used a quart jar.

allow to cool before lidding.

BAM!

Pickled Jalapenos

4 years ago: chocolate + coconut macaroons
3 years ago: homemade bánh cướn chay
2 years ago: popcorn
1 year ago: zucchini ravioli

all other pickled stuff:
bread & butter pickles
brinjal pickle hummus
pickled beets
veitnamese pickled carrots & dakon

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jasmine tea + mango jello

Jasmine Tea + Mango Jello

hot damn,
it looks like a post
will go up for june!
barely made it.

we’re headed into july,
which means we are hosting our nephews soon,
and i’m ridiculously excited about it.
we’re headed into the woods,
where i’ll worry about bears and ticks
and mosquitoes,
oh my.

hope your summer is going well!

Jasmine Tea + Mango Jello

jasmine + mango jello
serves 2

note: dw loves him a good boba tea, i don’t care for it, but the local boba shop has pineapple jello that they add to their jasmine tea and damn if i’m not addicted to them.

brew tea according to preference, chill

1 mango, skinned, pitted and cubed
1 1/2 cup boiling water
2 1/2 tsp agar agar, i use the telephone brand, in powder form
maple syrup to taste, optional

in a small sauce pan heat up the water. when it reaches a boil, add the agar agar, remove from heat and stir to melt.

in a vitamix or blender, blitz the cubed mango, you want it as smooth as possible. add the maple syrup if the mango isn’t sweet to your liking.

carefully add the hot water to the blender and blitz to mix through.

pour into a container with a flat bottom. i used a rectangle pyrex container.

cool to room temp and then put in fridge to chill further and harden. (at room temp, it should be hard to the touch already)

when ready, cube the jello, be mindful of the size and that they’ll go up the straw.

to assemble:
add a few tablespoons (or whatever amount that you fancy) of the mango jello cubes to glass. pour the cold tea over it and play the game where you try not to eat all the jello pieces before the tea is gone.

BAM!

4 years ago: s’more donuts
3 years ago: veggie dumplings in spicy sauce
2 years ago: meringue cups + mango curd
1 year ago: raw blueberry coconut tart + nut crust

eleven madison park granola

Granola

it’s the point in the
season/life/year where i spend less time
in front of the computer,
even less time behind the camera,
and practically no time in the kitchen.
initially i fight it,
because what else is there to do,
and most importantly,
what will we eat??

simultaneously though,
i can’t force it,
if i’m not feeling it,
i’m not feeling it.
anything more than that
rings kinda like a farce,
and if there is one thing
i sound vaguely very pretentious about,
it’s the authenticity of whatever.

today’s recipe requires minimal kitchen time,
and it’s perfect to have for breakfast with milk,
or smother in kefir for dinner.
cus sometimes you just gotta go with it.

Granola

eleven madison park granola
adapted from eleven madison park

*note: dw & i dined at eleven madison park for his birthday a few months ago and they gave us their granola as a parting gift. short of going back there to dine, i had to make it at home. their version is sweeter, and initially i would halve the sugar amount, and now i just nix it completely. i think the key is the olive oil and low temp. it is so good, it’s well worth forcing myself into the kitchen to put together. my office sidekick cj swears by it, tells me i need to quit my day job and become a crunchy granola hustler. don’t tempt me.

**note: this recipe is for 1 batch, but we typically double it.

***note: depending on what we have available and what we buy, we’ve bought nuts and coconut chips already roasted (or salted) and we would adjust the seasoning accordingly, or omit the stuff that wasn’t raw until the end. use your best judgement

2 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup shelled pistachios (ideally, raw and unsalted)
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips (ideally untoasted)
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, raw
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, raw
sprinkle of kosher salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup dried sour cherries or raisins

preheat oven to 300F.

in a large bowl, mix together the raw ingredients.

in a small saucepan, warm the maple syrup and olive oil on low.

pour the warmed liquid on the raw ingredients and mix through, making sure all the dry ingredients are coated well.

on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, dump the granola on it and spread it out. bake until dry, about 40 minutes. be sure at the half way mark to stir granola around.

when the time is up, stir the granola one last time and allow to cool in the oven with the door open.

when it’s at room temp add in the cherries or raisins and whatever remaining ingredients that were not raw and mix through.

store in air tight containers, will keep for a week or two. we’ve managed to consume within that time frame, so i’m unsure if it’ll keep freshness beyond that.

BAM!

4 years ago: dutch oven bread
3 years ago: miso ramen
2 years ago: grass jelly with chia seeds
1 year ago: chia tea

vegan mapo tofu

Vegan Mapo Tofu

every four years,
i’m surprised when election time arrives,
the level of vitriol increasing incrementally,
this latest season reaching obscene heights.
i became a citizen just in time
to vote in a historical president,
and it seems like we’re on the cusp of
voting in another historical president.
(at the time i wrote this post,
we did not know who the new president would be.)
mayhap with the passing of this season
things will settle,
be less contentious,
our facebook feed will go back to
cat postings
and finally,
i’ll catch up on the Brange drama;
though i wonder in the aftermath
of such hate,
and the tacit permission to be so unkind,
i wonder what the consequences will look like?

growing up tofu was consumed fairly often,
it’s nutritious and cheap.
lentils is a relatively new addition to my repertoire,
it’s also nutritious and cheap.
combining the two,
a western ingredient in an asian dish,
seems about right in this climate.

if only we could be so kind
in the blending of our cultures.

Vegan Mapo Tofu

Vegan Mapo Tofu
drawn from these sources: lady&pups, lucky peach, and burp! appetite.

note: you won’t use all the chili bean paste oil, it can be stored in fridge for a long time, used to top other dishes, like ramen or dandan noodles.
it’s spicy AF, dw was like, WHY IS THIS DISH SO ANGRY?!
note**: i’ve made this a few times, with/out the chili oil, with meat or with lentils, it changes depending on what we have in the pantry. what is the always the same is the tofu, i’m a firm tofu lover, the silken/soft stuff makes me mad. another thing, i always use the french lentils because they hold their shape better.

chili bean paste oil
1 cup of grapeseed oil
1 – 2 TBL of douban paste, i use lee kum brand
2 TBL chili pepper flakes

combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat at medium. with a spoon break the paste as best you can and fry for about 5 minutes, until the flakes turn brown. take off heat and cool completely. strain into a clean jar/container. keep in fridge until use.

the main event
1 package of firm tofu, wrapped in kitchen towel & pressed down with something heavy to draw out excess water
1/2 cup of lentils, i used black/french, cooked (cooked in water for about 30 minutes)
splash of oil
a knob of ginger, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced/minced dried wood ear mushrooms, reconstituted in hot water
2 TBL of douban paste, i use lee kum brand
splash of chinese shao-xing wine, rice wine is fine
splash of dark soy sauce
1 tsp of ground sichuan peppercorn, i use penzeys
1 – 2 cups of veg stock
1 TBL cornstarch + 2 TBL cold water

after tofu’s been pressed of excess liquid, cube it and set aside.

heat up a large skillet with some oil and the ginger and garlic, take care to not burn. add in the lentils, along with the mushroom and douban paste. stir it through so that the lentils are fully mixed with the paste. add in the shao-xing wine, dark sauce and ground peppercorn. cook it through for a minute or so and then add the stock and tofu cubes. lower the heat and allow to simmer until reduced by half. (i like my chinese dishes liquidy cus i enjoy pouring the sauce over rice). add in the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. gently mix everything and the liquid is fully thickened, and transfer to serving bowl.

top with a tablespoon or so of the chili oil, heated in a small pan. serve with hot rice.

BAM!

Vegan Mapo Tofu

3 years ago: chicken pho
2 years ago: za’atar socca + middle eastern smashed avocado
1 year ago: only one thing last year, vegan carrot cake

Miso Hummus topped with Seaweed Furikake

Miso Hummus topped with seaweed furikake

a few great things that have happened recently:

i finally saw heart in concert
seeing as how the sisters are Wilsons,
there being that very slim chance of us being related,
i had to see them live.
alas after seeing their performance,
in my scientific opinion
we do not have the same talent genes,
they’re effing amazing.

i actually don’t despise podcasts, it came down to finding the right ones
a few of my fave:
Dear Sugar,
mortified,
& unqualified
i like the 2nd one so much,
we’re going to see them later this week when they’re in town
(if you’re local, let’s meet up!)
(just don’t be weird/creepy)

inspired by the Great British Bake Off,
i entered a chicken soup cookoff.
i spent part of the weekend making the stock
and then a large portion of sunday evening
making the first batch of Experiment Soup.
that’s lunch this week.
the cycle starts again this weekend,
up until Contest Day.
i will post the recipe after the contest.

Miso Hummus topped with seaweed furikake

Miso Hummus topped with Seaweed Furikake
makes about 2 cups

note: dw & i are on the never ending searching for smooth homemade hummus. we’ve made our fair share, with varying results of smoothness. what’s great about hummus is that it’s a very blank slate and it’s entirely up to you how you want to flavor and season. we’ve had the very very basic garlic version to herby to now this: miso flavored. all i know is, it’s a dish that brings people together, correction: brings different people together, a sentiment that lina of the lebanese plate is most passionate about. in today’s political climate, domestic and aboard, it’s scary times. let’s stop being assholes and share some great food. #SpreadHummusNotHate
*note: local/baltimore folk: Great Sage is having a family style Middle East Peace Dinner. get on that.

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
healthy pinch of baking soda
2 TBL miso (i used brown rice)
generous 1/3 cup tahini
1/4 – 1/3 cup cold water
1 tsp sesame oil, at the end, and to top

seaweed furikake, as previously seen in Somen Noodle Bowl
2 sheets of nori/seaweed, shredded by hand
2-3 TBL toasted sesame seeds, very important to toast!
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
pinch of salt

in a bowl, mix the furikake together. set aside.

soak chickpeas with pinch of baking soda, leave on counter overnight. they will double in size, it’s quite alarming.

next morning, drain and rinse. in a big saucepan add the beans with more than you think you’ll need water, about 4-5″ above the beans. bring to a boil, lower temp and simmer for about 1 hour. test for done-ness and then boil for a bit longer. i usually aim for about 1.5 – 2 hours boil time.

drain and add the cooked beans into a food processor. lina (along with other people, dw included) says to skin the beans for extra smoothness but my lazy ass was not gonna bother. add in the miso and tahini. blitz until smooth. then blitz some more. very slowly and carefully, add in the cold water until it reaches the loose consistency you’re aiming for. i like to aim for slightly runny, because as the hummus cools, it’ll thicken up.

top with the seaweed furiake and serve with chips/rice crackers/vegs.

it tastes better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld.

BAM!

Miso Hummus topped with seaweed furikake

3 years ago: diy watercolor wedding invites (!!!)
2 years ago: homemade lactose free ricotta cheese
1 year ago: bún riêu – vietnamese seafood noodle soup