Friday, November 23, 2007

HT Market, Daiso, and my Bento Madness.

I'm signifigantly frusterated with Blogspot because I can't put up videos or slideshows, I probably can't put up music either. I guess this blog shall forever rely on text and a plethora of pictures. And so the story goes...

When I learned they had closed down Larry's Market on Aurora I was dismayed. Then my dismay was quickly overcome with pure bliss when I learned that the store was to be replaced with an HT Market. So I go...and my observations are as such...Its incredibly inenxpensive. I got my first bento box there (a pink circular triple layer bento) for $5. The produce is "organic" in quality but it doesn't matter because I only get stuff I can't get at my overpriced QFC, like persimmons to make my Persimmon cookies.
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I don't know about their seafood but I know they have great meat cuts and an amazingly large selections of frozen seafood. While HT Mart is to Uwagimaya in the way that a store like Safeway is to QFC in terms of atmosphere, it is still a lot closer to my house. Uwagimaya also trumps HT market in the fact that is has a lot more selection, the produce is nicer, they have crazy good candy, they have a food court, and a bookstore. Sorry HT Mart.
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On to Takoyaki. Wanting to mak it and then that want was rekindled by watching a takoyaki videos on youtube. Oh my word I should go see if they have premade takoyaki at HT Market!*freaks out for a good 5 seconds* I was denied my takoyaki pan at Daiso and I already know they don't sell them at the HT Mart...though it wouldent hurt to look again. I could by a Abelskiver pan or a "puffy pancake" pan but they cost around $30, besides the lady at Daiso said I could get one for like 3-6 dollars though they were sold out when I went there.

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Speaking of Daiso, my mom told me of the new store, Daiso, at the Alderwood mall. It's virtually a Japanese dollar store, or to be more acurate a Japanese $1.50 store. I was so looking forward to going and when I did I wasn't dissapointed. I was dissapointed that I spent $20 but I did buy a lot. Yay for bentos!

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This post, as it relates to things Japanese is available on my other blog.


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Thanksgiving…If my family was a little more “togetherly” (for lack of a better word…that’s what they have that new My Word Coach DS game for [read more about this in my other blog]) then Thanksgiving might mean more than food. But my families’ problems are not your problems; they’re mine, so I’m not going to blab about that. Besides you’re here to read about food, not the common American families troubles…if anyone is here to read at all (wow, I AM cynical today!).

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So! My family and I went to my Aunts for Thanksgiving, as is tradition, while the rest of my distant relatives were in Maine. I had a good time and I left the table not feeling like my stomach was going to implode (thats a first). I was really disappointed that I didn’t get to cook Thanksgiving dinner this year…I’m stuck on Christmas dinner duty which is a whole lot harder to plan (and more expensive, $40 for a leg of lamb). But nun the less, on to Christmas!

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Bagel is Holy

Bagels are Jewish, yep, and they have got me thoroughly interested in Kosher food (but thats another blog). I resently tryed my hand at bagel making. Whats that you say? "A Seattle bagel??? Blasphemy!" Well your right, it wasn't great, or good, but it was okay for a first go. There are always things to improve on! Anyway it was a fairly invogorating project...I always make it my duty to do research on whatever I'm making.

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And of course the art of bagel making is disputed. The way to shape your bagel, what to boil the bagel in, and the temperature and time of cooking the bagel are different depending the recipe you look at. I used the recipe from my bread maker. The dough was great (thanks bread maker makers!) but the cooking instruction left the bagels too pale (it was ugly in general but that was mostly my fault). I think I should try boiling my bagels in caramel water or barley malt syrup as the bagel was lacking a little in sweetness.

There are also Montreal bagels (tambien). "In contrast with the New York-style bagel, the Montreal bagel is smaller, sweeter and denser, with a larger hole, and is always baked in a wood-fired oven. It contains malt, egg, and no salt, and is boiled in honey-sweetened water before being baked in a wood-fired oven, whose irregular flames give it a random dappled light-and-dark surface colour. There are two predominant varieties: black-seed (poppyseed), or white-seed (sesame seed). Some purists object to any variation on this theme, though most bagel bakeries now offer many additional varieties (including Matzah-like flat breads)." I got all this information from wikipedia! (I couldn't source that tidbit gracefully forgive me)

As I well know by now I love variety and can’t wait to try new combinations, toppings, and spreads, but at the same time I should be able to enjoy a good bagel plain (but still with butter because butter makes everything better!).

As stated by Jim Berman on (note the graceful citation)“Variety matters, as my students are quick to point out, "hey chef, there are more flavors than vanilla," when I go on a tirade about how overlooked vanilla is equated with plain. Oscar Wilde gave us wisdom in "the world would be a boring a place if we all shared the same sense of humor." I agree. Variety is, after all, proverbially speaking the spice of life. Except with bagels. The best bagel is the plain bagel. In all seriousness, when trying a new pizza joint, you do yourself a disservice by sampling the first slice garbed in mushrooms, onions, pepperoni and sweet peppers. The real experience comes from taking in the flavor of the sauce, cheese and crust. The same goes for bagels. Sure, there are countless shmears, smears and spreads. And a little cream cheese does well to accent the flavor of a good bagel. But, why mask the real flavor of a bagel with some horrific concoction? Fear the sundried tomato and pesto bagel. Run the opposite direction of the rosemary and olive roll with the hole.”

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Adventures of Couscous Girl and Feta Cheese Man

Okay so there's no Feta Cheese Man but there is a Couscous Girl and she is loving her couscous. I recently tried couscous again for the sake of a mediteranian style recipe. While I managed to slaughter the recipe with chicken granules and precooked flashfrozen fish as well as some wonderfully bitter green olives the couscous was great. I had a previous adversion to the stuff but now its just like little pasta (which is what it is) and maybe even better. Its cooking method is unusual as Couscous is steamed not boiled. It keeps it's texture really well and can be used in place of pasta or rice and is very common in Medditeranean cuisines such as Greek or in Morocco.

Currently I have only tried two recipes one of my "inventions";Couscous with bell papper pesto and feta cheese

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I also made a Couscous cherry yougurt pudding (recipe courtesy Alton Brown)...I ate it before I took the picture.