Where have you been

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ginger Tea

Ginger is said to reduce inflammation and help sore joints. It's good when you want a hot drink and it's made into a tea. Simply grate or mash a thick slice of gingerroot (I use the mortar and pestle) and pour on hot water. Steep, strain and serve with some honey. I've tried juicing the ginger and grating it, but mashed seems to make the most delicious version. It's great on a cold and wet night. And no caffeine, either.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

When we're feeling punk

I had a cold. Second one this year, that's a record, for me. I'm normally not a partaker of colds. I just don't like them, they don't like me. I like to keep it that way.

But when you are feeling punk, there is a sort of rice soup that is almost universal to any culture that eats rice. You can call it congee, canja, jook, okayu, milchreis, kao tam. It can be sweet, savory or incredibly bland.


1 cup or one measure of rice (I use either Jasmine or Japanese short grain.)
10 cups or measures water. (Yes. That is right. 10.)

Put the rice and water in the rice cooker on the "congee" or "porridge" setting. Let'er go until the rice is broken down and you have a thin soup. Can be made thicker. Can be made with chicken or vegetable or fish bouillon. (Bob preferred it with chicken broth, I like it with either veg broth or water.)

Can be seasoned with: shrimp, garlic, green onions, fried diced pork and fish sauce (nam pla) or for a sweet version, use raw sugar, gur or jaggery (palm sugar) and I like a dash of cinnamon. It is made with milk in Germany. I do not like it with milk.

Notice there is no salt unless you use bouillon or nam pla. I usually eat mine with a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar mix. The savory version is a good winter breakfast (and is what we ate in Thailand, that is, I ate it, Bob went for the Western breakfast.) It is also a good dinner or late night snack if you don't want to eat much. In Japan, we had it seasoned with some kind of sweet-soy-sauced dried anchovy fish. Better than it sounds. Some people kind of poach an egg in it by dropping in a raw egg and lightheartedly hoping the heat of the porridge will cook that egg. Maybe, maybe not. Raw eggs for breakfast are common in Japan.

This is great when you don't feel good. Or if you are not up for much to eat.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Vegetarian Biryani

This is a recipe I make for pot luck. It satisfies vegans and no one misses the meat or cheese.

For the rice:
3/4 cups basmati rice
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons blanched, sliced almonds
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

For the vegetables:
2 tablespoons oil (canola, corn)
1/4 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs Curry Paste (mild Pataks, or Pataks Biryani Paste)
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons blanched, sliced almonds
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1 cup drained chick peas (canned are fine)
3 ounces green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 small new potatoes (about 6 ounces), peeled and quartered, and par boiled
1 medium carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small zucchini cubed
handful sugar snap peas
1 salt
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons toasted shredded coconut
2 tablespoons toasted blanched, sliced almonds

Make the rice: I use a rice cooker. Add ingredients and whole spices, cook as for white rice

Meanwhile, make the vegetables. Put oil in a skillet with a tight-fitting lid, over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the golden raisins, almonds, curry paste and cook, stirring, until toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chick peas, cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, carrots, and salt. Raise the heat to high, pour in the water, and cook, covered, for 4 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender and most of the water has evaporated, about 1 1/2 minutes more.

Top rice with veg in a lasagna pan. Cover with foil.

Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, to heat through. Season with salt to taste. Serve, top with some of the toasted coconut and almonds.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bye bye to the Big Guy

Departed this earth, in his sleep, 3-24-2011. 54 yrs of age. I'm gutted.