Summer foods: Horchata

A few weekends ago, after seven years living in Houston, for the first time I finally had a truly Southern dish:  chicken and waffles.  We got up early because there is often a line and had breakfast at a famous Houston breakfast joint, the Breakfast Klub.  I was shocked by how awesome it was!  I’m not a fan of fried chicken, particularly wings, but these were tasty.  Spiced perfectly and somehow they stayed hot for our whole breakfast.  This was truly masterful frying in action.

Horchata
Finished horchata

It wasn’t really ideal summer food, but other project for the weekend was:  homemade horchata.

If you’re not familiar with it, horchata is a sweet rice/nut milk sort of drink that is a part of many cuisines, but in Houston it typically is associated with Mexico.  I had never had it until recently when a friend gave me a taste of an alcoholic version and then I wanted to try the real thing.

It has a milky texture, is very sweet, and is spiced, usually with cinnamon.  It’s super delicious and perfect for hot summer weather.  Once I had real horchata for the first time I immediately thought — I wonder how this is made?

Fortunately for me, the internet exists to find out! Continue reading Summer foods: Horchata

Summer foods: Unagi

Unagi
Unagi

The past few years I’ve stepped up my study of Japanese and along with it I’ve also tried to become better at cooking Japanese dishes. I tend to enjoy “homestyle” Japanese food or things that aren’t the iconic sushi. Unadon, okonomiyaki, onigiri, mabodofu, ramen, curry rice, omuraisu, zarusoba… All of them are way above sushi on my list of Japanese food I love. And there’s also a wide array of “Oh that’s so good, but I can’t remember what it is…” type side dishes and salad I’ve yet to conquer.

I’m fortunate that Houston has a Japanese grocery store, Nippon Daido. But it’s a long drive for me and a little expensive, so it’s not somewhere I go outside of specially planned trips. I get key ingredients there (mirin, konbu, katsuobushi, miso, special soy sauces, etc.) and then make a lot of the various sauces I need at home. I can make my own dashi, mentsuyu (a.k.a. dip for zarusoba), and eel sauce.

Last weekend I decided to devote to cooking “summer foods.” Continue reading Summer foods: Unagi

Limefest 2015

150717_tacos
Fish tacos

My house is on about .05 acres of land, so that means I have two flower beds and that’s about all.  But I do have one lime tree and once a year that means…agriculture!  All year I’ve been looking forward to my summer lime harvest.

In the past I’ve made limeade and not-key lime pie.  This year I decided to really get creative, particularly because I had more limes than ever, about 30.
Continue reading Limefest 2015

of Cooking. of Arrakis.