I’ve never been a big fan of chili. I don’t dislike it, but I’ve never woken up one day and been like “Yes! Today is chili day!” It’s something my dad would make from time to time when I was young and his was made with venison and lots of beans until it was a thick stew of whatever he decided to toss in. A few years ago he visited and we made chili again and we wrote down the recipe. At least I thought we had. Continue reading Dad Chili
One of my regular recipes is a gumbo recipe written by a friend of a friend. The only name I knew him by was Fluffy. I never met him and he lived in Seattle and wrote a gumbo recipe. I had never had gumbo before, so making it at home from this recipe was my first experience with it. I’ve since lived in the South and visited New Orleans and had Really Good Authentic gumbo and it isn’t really like what I make. But this recipe remains on rotation in my house.
The first iteration of this recipe was made with actual peas instead of black-eyed peas because I didn’t know what black-eyed peas were, my grocery store in Hawaii didn’t have any, and I basically had no idea what I was doing. And I have made it with green peas for years. But making it with black-eyed peas is a lot more authentic and is also more delicious.
The spiciness of this recipe can be adjusted by adjusting the cayenne pepper. I also often leave out the onions (or substitute onion powder) because my dedicated food audience (a.k.a. my husband) doesn’t eat most onions. Alas, for onions! It can be made with less chicken. Or more. Or more celery or less, etc. The recipe is quite flexible.
This is a get-all-your-pots-and-pans dirty kind of recipe and it takes a little while to make because of all the things going on at once. I can make it in about half an hour now, but starting out it was a “this takes a long time” recipe for me. And really it’s most delicious if you can let it stew for a while.
I’ve changed the recipe slightly from the original, but with credit to Fluffy, the mysterious friend of a friend I never knew, here it is.
Continue reading Fluffy Gumbo
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
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