Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ginger Cookies

Jun and I were at a community center where I took a child's CPR class. In the lobby they happened to be having a kind of bazaar. There was a table selling cookies. I hope the organization I so felt impressed to help support was a good one! I bought a package of four cookies the size of a quarter for one dollar. There were various kinds for sale. Chocolate, chocolate-chip, tea, etc. But, I wanted something I thought Jun could eat too, so got the ginger cookies.

Now, please forget your image of ginger cookies. These cookies are WHITE! And, they take raw ginger root! And they are really yummy!

I found a great recipe for these cookies.
3/4 cup of butter/margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup chopped raw ginger
2 cups flour

Cream the margarine and sugar together. Stir in the ginger. Then add the flour. By the time the flour is all in, you will be mixing with your hands. You can roll these cookies out after refridgerating, or you can roll the dough into snakes 1 1/2 inches thick or so, and then refridgerate. When they are firm, slice them 1/2 inch thick and bake for 20 minutes at 170C. (Preheat your oven.) They don't brown or rise, so you can put many on one cooking sheet.

So, if you are thinking of making a new Christmas Cookie, please give this a try and let me know how you liked them!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Strange Crispy Chicken Bites

I really love to try STRANGE recipes. Not those that take things I can't pronounce, but ones that take everyday things and combine them in an unthinkable way. Well, someone thought of them, but...not me.

I got this recipe from a Japanese television program and shared it with my Japanese students. It isn't exactly Japanese - at all, really - but it's pretty good.

Take boneless skinless chicken legs and cut them up into bite-sized pieces.

In a bowl, combine a little bit (maybe 1/2 cup or less) of mayonnaise, a teaspoon of salt, and some garlic paste in some form or other. Mix it well and stir in the chicken pieces. Cover and let it set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Longer is fine.

In another bowl, crush up some kind of non-sweetened cereal. Take the chicken pieces out of the mayo, one at a time, and roll them in the cereal. Place as close together as you need on a cookie sheet or pan. Cook at 400F or 210C for about 20 min - depending on your interpretation of bite-sized. When done, remove to a paper towel, and eat hot!

Nice and crunchy!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Berry Sauce

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out how to make this sauce. However, my mother, who has PLENTY of common sense and cooking experience, loved this sauce so much, she asked me how to make it. Thus, the recipe - if you can call it that.

One package of frozen blueberries
One package of frozen raspberries - the same amount as the blueberries.

Dump both packages in a saucepan, put the lid on and turn the heat on as low as possible. Go about your morning fixing pancakes or toast. Forget about the berries. Notice the great smell just as the berries boil over. Rush to the stove. Pop off the lid. Get out the potato masher and smash the berries all up. Dump 1/2 cup of sugar, or however much you like, into the pan and stir it nicely. Then, crank the heat up a bit and glance at the clock. Wait for the sauce to boil for a minute, turn it off, and WALA - berry sauce.

This sauce is great over plain yogurt and Japanese Corn Flakes - harder than ones in the States and don't get soggy as fast. My baby dumped all of her pieces of pancake in her bowl with yogurt and berry sauce, and that has become her breakfast of choice. I too must admit that the slightly burnt flavor of those pancakes is best hidden by something, and something with fruit is always a nice something.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Relish - For Hamburgers, Hotdogs, etc.

Living in Japan, the tiny and high priced jars of pickle relish just are not a frequent option. Imagine my delight when I went to C---- and had a hot dog in their eating area and SMOTHERED it with relish and ketchup. YUM! We found a big 1/2 gallon jar of relish at C---- and I brought it home with great expectations. Unfortunately the relish was hard and crunchy! How do you make relish that is not hard and crunchy???

A few months later the flower lady down the street's mother asked if I knew how to make pickles. "Of course," I answered. Or, at least my Mom and Grandma used to make them when I was in early elementary school. A few years ago. So, after that bold statement, I went to the Web, and found a microwave recipe for pickles. I have to tell you I was so surprised that you actually COOK cucumbers. Hmmm. Looks like I missed something watching Mom and Grandma.

After some adaptation, I now have a wonderful homemade pickle relish recipe to share with you!!!

  1. 2-3 cups shredded cucumbers (About 4-5 Asian skinny ones. Not sure about American ones.)
  2. Sprinkle the shredded cucumbers with 1/4 tsp. of salt and set aside while making the following:

In a sauce pan combine:

  1. 3/4 cup of sugar (adjust to taste)
  2. 1/2 cup of vinegar (I use rice vinegar - I live in Japan, after all.)
  3. 3/4 tsp. of salt
  4. 1 Tbsp. of Pickle Spice (I found this little pack at Isetan Dept. Store. Do you have this in the States?) Put it in some of cheese cloth or tea bag packet.

Cook till the sugar dissolves. Squeeze as much of the liquid as you can from the shredded cucumbers (I use an old cotton towel). Add the cucumbers and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally. Cook till cucumbers turn the color of relish - kind of dark green. Maybe around 8-10 minutes. Cool in the saucepan, and put in a Tupperware container in the fridge. I leave the spice packet in the container with the assumption that the yummy flavor will just keep getting stronger and stronger.

I have also added a few hot dried peppers to the recipe when dissolving the sugar. Don't add too many. YIKES!

Yes, this was originally a microwave recipe, but, I am a control freak and you CAN'T see what you are cooking in the microwave. Also, messing with wrap with one hand while holding a baby on your other hip, just doesn't work well for me. So, WALA, the saucepan!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Real Juice Jello

I live in Japan and don't have the rows and rows of JELLO brand jello to choose from when shopping. Also, I have a little baby and was looking for some way to get a few more veggies into her. I came across this simple recipe for homemade jello. I use store-bought vegetable/fruit combination juice. My baby loves it. My husband and I prefer the sweet artificial flavors of Jello brand jello, I am afraid. SMILE. Perhaps if we used a fruit juice instead, we would like it much better.

  1. 2 Cups of juice
  2. 1 Tablespoon of gelatin

Pour one cup of juice in a bowl that can take some heat and sprinkle the gelatin over the juice evenly. Let it set while heating the other cup of juice just to boiling. Stir the cold juice, add the boiling juice, and stir. Refrigerate and eat when ready - a few hours. I thought of putting orange colored vegetable juice jello in a cute little food mold and add some frozen peas to it. Maybe cooked carrots with the green juice. Maybe I should stop while I am ahead!