Tips for “wa” cooking / Autumn eggplants tasty hot or cold

q66The scorching summer really lasted this year. I didn’t feel like going outside — even for a short time. Just watering the green bell peppers, eggplants and tomatoes I had planted became such a workload. Compared to the usual harvest, this year’s was meager.

Eggplant is a prominent summer vegetable and becomes particularly tasty when harvested in late summer or early autumn. During this season, it is known as aki-nasu, or autumn eggplant, when they grow firm but with a thin skin and small seeds.

There are two theories on the origin of the Japanese phrase, “Don’t let a yome [daughter-in-law] eat autumn eggplant.”

One is that it stemmed from the baleful will of a mother-in-law who thought that “autumn eggplant is too delicious for an annoying yome to eat.” The other theory is that the mother-in-law considerately warned that “autumn eggplant can cool the body down, so we can’t imperil the health of a yome who may soon become pregnant.”

It has also been said that the phrase represents the small seeds, which were thought by some to reduce the chance of becoming pregnant.

Whatever the theory, eggplants this season are appetizing.

Eggplants can be cooked in various ways — grilled (placing it directly on the grill, then pealing the skin and allowing it to cool before eating with soy sauce and grated ginger); marinated; as tempura; deep-fried; or as a deep-fried sandwich with ground meat. It tastes good served warm or cold, and really is a convenient ingredient.

Simmered eggplant with ground chicken, known as nasu no soboro-ni, is surprisingly easy to cook and goes well with steamed rice. My daughter, who is a university student, used to send me a photo of the dish via mobile phone when she started living alone and cooking for herself. It appears on the table of my home so often that I incidentally cooked it on the same day as my daughter. We eat it hot on cold days, but during hot weather I cook it a little more, then cool it in the refrigerator before serving with rice or somen noodles.

If you want to increase the dish’s volume, I recommend using more ground chicken than the recipe shows below. The point is to use sesame oil and ginger, which make the dish tasty, and chopped onion, which adds sweetness.

When shopping, look for the characteristic shiny skin and thorny stems of fresh eggplants. Keep them in the vegetable storage section of your refrigerator and try to use them within four or five days.

Sakamoto’s recipe for nasu no soboro-ni

Ingredients: (serves 4)

5 eggplants

1 knob ginger

1 small onion

1 tbsp sesame oil

200 grams ground chicken

300 cc dashi stock

3 tbsp soy sauce

3 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp katakuriko starch

Directions:

1. Remove the stems from the eggplants and cut them into 2-3 centimeters disks. Leave the slices in a bowl of water for 10 minutes, then drain.

2. Peel and grate the ginger and peel and chop the onion. Heat the sesame oil in a pot over medium heat and stir-fry the onion.

3. When the onion becomes semitransparent, add the chicken and ginger. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, then add the dashi, soy sauce and mirin and bring to the boil. Skim the fat that forms on the surface.

4. Add the eggplant and cook covered for 10 minutes.

5. In a cup, combine 1 tablespoon of katakuriko and water, then stir well with a folk and add to the eggplant mixture, stirring well.

6. Cook for 20-30 seconds, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula, then remove from the heat.

What does world class Cooking take

This site provides you with all the information that
requires you to get enough knowledge about the art of
cooking. All the resources have been accumulated and
then organised to help you master different forms of
cooking. The featured article on this site is on
French cooking which is regarded universally as the
most refined and elegant styles of cooking across the
globe. French cooking can be really easy at times but
simple French cooking does not mean simple cooking. It
actually takes lots of hard work and effort to prepare
sumptuous French delicacies.

In fact it is the masterpieces of royal chefs and
cooks that have become a signature in French cooking.
Some of the greatest chefs of the world were masters
of art of cooking developed in the nation of France.
The diverse preparation of French cuisine emerging
from at least 26 regions of the country makes the
delicacies so remarkable in taste and flavour. The art
of French cooking has also influenced the European
cuisine to a great extent. The cookery schools that
impart training on the French cooking techniques also
makes use of the standards and the recipes of the
French cooking as the basics for other forms of
cooking especially that of western cuisine. The very
approach to food in that of French cooking is
reflective of the love for dining and appreciation of
fresh ingredients by the French people. Even their
ingenuity in the use of the easily available
ingredients depicts their love for food.

It is also noteworthy that each region in the nation
has a special dish which is prepared for each season
and occasion. The various seasons of the year
witnesses the preparation of an assortment of splendid
delicacies which are prepared using the ingredients
which are available in abundance. In the months of
summer various salads and other types of fresh fruits
are featured in the summer special delicacies. After
the end of the summer months mushrooms are available
in plenty and appears in mouth-watering stews. During
the hunting season which commences from the month of
September to February, however the venison rules the
dining table. In the spring season the French
delicacies also reflect their love for oysters. Hence
it can be concluded that the art of French cooking has
introduced gustatory delights to the table of the
commoners. It should also be maintained the most of
the French cuisine has been the consequence of their
proximity to other countries. The cookbooks that are
available in the market make French cooking more
difficult. But relatively easier home made French
cuisine is enough to impress you near and dear ones
with delicacies, the names of which will be a
tongue-twister for them.

Jacques Pepin whips up some new cooking tips

Jacques Pepin is an icon. He’s been teaching Americans how to cook for longer than many of today’s chefs have been alive. Since 1975, he has published more than two dozen cookbooks and starred in 15 television series — 13 of them produced by KQED in San Francisco. “Jacques Pepin: Heart & Soul,” his newest — and, he says, his last — will air on PBS stations later this month. In August, he was named the recipient of the first Julia Child Award, which will be presented at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 22.

Q: You and Julia Child had such a special relationship — give us one Julia story.

A: We ate at their house many times and cooked together. The beauty of it was she’d just say, ‘What do you want to cook?’ and I’d say, ‘I don’t know, what do you have?’ and we’d go on from there. It was very relaxed, never very planned. When we did the series [“Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home”], it took two years to finish the book after we’d finished the show because people had to go back and re-create all the dishes we cooked.

Q: How has your cooking style evolved during your career?

A: It did evolve and it didn’t. Again, when Julia and I did our series, my cooking style was certainly less French than hers in many ways. We’d start to do something and I’d want to do it one way and she’d say, ‘That’s not right, that’s not the French way’ and so we’d argue and we’d have a bottle of wine and everything would come out fine.

Q: Someone wants to learn to cook. What are the first three things they should know?

A: Certainly, good equipment. Too many people start to learn to cook with big handicaps, like bad knives or an ugly skillet. That makes their lives very difficult. You should have a nice setup too — a big butcher block table or enough counter space to work with, good lighting, a layout that makes it easy to access different areas easily. Then if you don’t know how to cook, have a friend who likes to cook come over and have a bottle of wine, put a chicken in the oven for an hour and it will be good.

Q: Early in your career, a cook, even a chef, was very much a blue-collar worker. Now it seems like they’re a combination of rock star and social movement leader.

A: I find it amazing. Before, people wanted their children to be doctors and lawyers, not cooks. Nobody ever said cooks were artists or cooks were geniuses. But it can go too far as well; some people really do start to believe they are geniuses. We’re still food-makers. That’s what we are.

Q: Are there still television shows about food that you enjoy watching? What would you like to see in a cooking show?

A: I don’t look at television food very much. But certainly when I look, I enjoy people like Lidia Bastianich, Rick Bayless or Ming Tsai. I learn something from them. Even Martha Stewart. I want to learn something from a show. Some people look at my show and say, ‘That’s boring and he goes on and on,’ and that’s perfectly fine. They say, ‘It’s television, it doesn’t have to be too serious,’ but for me, the reason I’m doing it is teaching and that’s what’s important. You can’t please everybody.

The Secret to Cooking: A Full Refrigerator

Can you relate to this? You start out with the best intentions. You intend to cook. You even search the web and pick out recipes or make a list. But then something comes up. You get distracted. You stay at work late or go out with your friends. By the time you get home it is eight thirty and you have nothing in your kitchen to cook and no desire to go back out to buy groceries.

The secret to cooking is having a full refrigerator and cupboard. If it is eight o’clock at night and you walk into your kitchen to find an empty refrigerator, the chances are pretty low that you are going to cook a meal. Entropy takes over—and dinner ends up a series of snacks, cobbled together from the last of the crackers you find in the cupboard and the last bit of hummus in the refrigerator.

To keep your kitchen full, you must have a consistent weekly food shopping plan. Isn’t it funny how we can plan our work weeks, our vacations, our family obligations, but somehow, we completely avoid planning in time to shop and cook?

Here are the basics to making a food shopping plan that makes cooking accessible —even on weeknights.

1. Create a handwritten or typed grocery list. Make a list of all the staples that you like to have in your kitchen. Also add the ingredients of your favorite recipes. You can use this list every week and keep adding to it as you learn about new foods or recipes.

2. Keep the list handy and up to date. Post the list on your refrigerator. Check off what you run out of as the week progresses. That way you won’t forget those vital ingredients.

3. Plan. Pick the same time each week to make your weekly plan. Sunday morning is a great time for this. During this time, determine which nights you’ll be cooking and what ingredients you’ll need. Then update your shopping list for the week.

4. Shop. Grab the list on your way out the door and do your shopping between your other errands. It is easiest to pick the same shopping day each week to create a habit. Your shopping time should be reduced immensely now that you have a list and a plan.

5. Use Fresh Direct or another shopping service if you are out of town during your shopping day. If you know you are going to be out of town for the weekend or just incredibly swamped, use Fresh Direct. Your shopping list gets saved online and you can order from anywhere.

6. Always have the ingredients for a few Non-Perishable Meals on hand. For those times when you just don’t have any fresh greens and veggies in your refrigerator, make sure you have some healthy non-perishable items on hand such as canned tuna and salmon, cans of beans and healthy soups.

Charleston FD has some cooking tips to prevent burns

Over the last few months, several residents in the City of Charleston have suffered a variety of burn injuries due to cooking fires. Many of these injuries required hospitalization. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires are the number one cause of fires in the United States. On average fire departments respond to more than 150,000 home structure fires that involve cooking equipment each year. Together, these fires cause an average of 400 civilian deaths, 5,000 civilian injuries and an estimated $1.1 billion dollars in direct property damage.

“To prevent accidental burns and other injuries, we must first start with safeguarding our homes,” said Jill Evans, Program Coordinator with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). “According to the American Burn Association National Burn Repository Report, 73% of all burn injury hospital admissions in the United Sates report that the injury occurred inside of the home.”
To prevent burns or injury, the Charleston Fire Department encourages the following tips:

  • Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling. If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • Keep a 3-foot “kid-free” zone around the cooking area where hot food or drink is being prepared.
  • Never attempt to move a burning pan or carry it out of the house. If you can do so safely, slide a properly fitted lid onto the pan to smother the flames. Turn the control knob to the “off” position.
  • Never throw water on oil or grease fires. Water will react violently with a grease fire and will spread the burning grease.
  • Anything that can catch on fire should be kept clear of the cooking area. This can include, pot holders, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, towels, and window curtains.
  • Attempt to use a fire extinguisher only if it is safe to do so. Baking soda can provide a safe alternative for a small fire.
  • When in doubt, get out. Alert others occupants, leave the structure, and call 9-1-1.

Burn injuries can be serious and require appropriate medical attention. Some first degree burns can be cared for at home. First-degree burns affect only the outer layer of the skin and causes redness and pain. For minor burns, put the affected area in cool water for several minutes and cover with a clean, dry, cloth. Some burns require medical attention. Second-degree burns affect multiple layers of skin and cause redness, pain, and swelling. Blisters may develop and pain can be severe. A third-degree burn can reach into body tissue and injure nerves. Skin may appear leathery, tan and could be blackened or charred. Third-degree burns require immediate emergency medical care.

It is important to also install and maintain smoke alarms in all homes. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home and inside, and outside, of each bedroom.

Grow Your Own Cooking Accoutrements

Cooking can involve so many wonderful ingredients that produce fantastic smells and flavors. Different recipes call for various spices and herbs that you can find bottled at the local grocery store. To enhance those dishes, you may want to consider growing your own herbs and having the opportunity to pick the freshest of herbs and add them to your dish can make a big difference in taste and quality of the dish. Growing your own herbs enables you to pick what you need whenever you need it.

Herbs are not very difficult to maintain provided you have a enough space in a well-light area of your kitchen. Herbs do not require much space to grow and need about six hours worth of sunlight during the daylight hours. Depending on which herbs you use in your cooking, you will have a difference between those that are perennials, which means they grow year after year without needing to replant seeds and there are annuals, which means the plants last only one season and when they die off, new seeds must be planted to re-grow the herbs.

Some classic examples of perennial plants are mint, lavender, chives, tarragon, and thyme. Annual herb plants include dill, chamomile, parsley, cilantro, and basil. For the cooks who do not necessarily have a green thumb, it may be easier to purchase grown plants rather than starting from see. Some of the more common plants may prove to be difficult to grow directly from seed if you are not an experienced gardener. The choice of plants, which can be found at most nurseries or home improvement stores, is up to the chef and what herbs are most likely to be used in regular cooking.

For some ideas on which herbs you may want to cultivate in your own kitchen, here are some of the most common herbs used in recipes:

Sage

Sage is a perennial that comes in different varieties which affect the taste of the herb and the dishes to which sage is added. It can be used in breads, stuffing, and pork dishes. A variation known as pineapple sage is used for sweetening desserts.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a perennial and a member of the mint family. It is also one of the oldest herbs on record. Rosemary has been used for everything from a cooking ingredient to a healing agent that cures headaches. It is a strong herb that is most often added to chicken dishes, breads, and vegetable dishes. Rosemary plants can turn into a shrub after several years of growing.

Oregano

Oregano is a perennial that is most often used in tomato sauces, on pizzas, or to season meats. Oregano plants can grow up to two feet tall and makes an attractive addition to outdoor gardens.

Dill

Dill is an annual that is best known for making pickles. It can also be used with potatoes and in salmon dishes.

Parsley

Parsley is a biennial, meaning it can grow for two full seasons before needing to be replanted from seed. Parsley is most often used in a number of recipes including soups, salad dressings, sauces, and it is also used as a simple garnish for decoration.

How to survive college without a meal plan: Smart cooking tips to last you the entire semester

Step Two: The Cooking Process

One of the most annoying things of having to cook is figuring out what to cook. Whether you’re an experienced cook or a beginner, this is something that is always a hassle.

To begin with, here are some terms you should learn: casseroles, one-pot meals and freezer meals. Type them in Google or Pinterest, and various recipes will pop up. To make your search easier, here are several helpful links that will supply you with amazing cooking ideas.

Go ahead and check out the links. Most of them classify food by breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try to dedicate some time during the week or over the weekend to schedule your foods for the week; don’t underestimate the power or being organized! This way, if you know you’re going to cook meat the next day, take the food out of the freezer and into the fridge to defrost the night before. If you know you want to have a certain meal for the next day’s lunch, then make it at night and prepare your airtight container.

QUICK TIPS

Breakfast – I have 8 a.m. class Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since it’s so early and I barely have time to get ready and eat (learned from experience), I prepare overnight oats Monday and Wednesday night and take it with me the next morning. They are super simple, delicious and nutritious. Plus, you can add whatever you want. If you want my recipe, check out my blog at https://bakeandread.wordpress.com/about/blog-entries/overnight-oatmeal/.

Lunch – If you can’t go back home for lunch, bring your container and heat it up. There’s a microwave in the food court of the Ronald Tutor Campus Center.

Dinner – I know it’s hard and most of us make this our biggest meal of the day, but try your best to eat something light as you won’t be able to burn those calories while sleeping!

One of the most popular dishes among college students is pasta, and I’m no exception.Here’s a super easy recipe for lasagna, my all-time favorite dish. If you read my previous post, “Back to Basics,” you’ll remember how I said that I don’t eat steak unless it’s cooked in a certain way. But even though I don’t really eat it, I do eat burgers and you know what regular burgers are made out of? Ground beef. And do you know what lasagna is made out of? That’s right, whatever on earth you want it to make it out of. But this one has ground beef.

INGREDIENTS

  • Ground beef (or ground turkey)
    • ¼ tsp of cumin
    • ¼ tsp of oregano
    • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (I like to spice it up)
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp TJ’s 21 seasoning salute
  • Lasagna noodles (enough for a three-layer lasagna
  • Tomato sauce (I usually use vodka sauce)
  • Provolone cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Ricotta/cottage cheese
  • Parmesan cheese

PROCESS

  1. Season the meat the night before or the morning of the day you’ll cook it.
  2. Cook on medium-high heat until done. You’ll know it’s done when all the pieces turn brown (or grayish).
  3. Meanwhile, cook the lasagna noodles following the steps on the package. You usually just need to boil some water and let it cook until tender.
  4. FUN PART. Pour some sauce at the bottom of your baking dish and start layering: noodles, sauce, meat, provolone, mozzarella, ricotta/cottage, parmesan cheese. Repeat this process until you complete the three layers.
  5. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
  6. Let it cool for about 10 -15 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

What Is Sea Salt?

One of the constant ingredients in cooking and in manufacturing cosmetics is sea salt. Previously known as bay salt, the taste of sea salt is different from table salt because of the difference in their mineral composition. Table salt is usually pure sodium chloride, made from refining halite, or rock salt. Sea salt is produced by Greece, France, Cayman Islands, Ireland, Sicily, some parts of Italy, and Colombia. In the United States, sea salt comes from the San Francisco Bay, Utah, Maine, and Cape Cod. It usually costs more than table salt.

Mineral salt has been mined for a long time. In fact, the Hallstatt salt mines are testament to age-old mining, with marks that were found to have been made as early as the Iron Age. However, mineral salt is not always readily available, so coastal countries and cities turn to the seas for its salt. The principle behind the production of sea salt is to let brine from the sea evaporate, leaving its salt crystals on land. The sun is an important tool for this process; other cities need to use fuel to produce sea salt. Because of this, the production of sea salt has always been dominated by Mediterranean countries and other regions that have warm, dry climates.

Where sea salt is produced today is called salt works, which used to be known as saltern, an old English word. In the medieval times, salterns are usually established on places that have these characteristics:

1. Easily accessible to a marketplace for it to be sold,
2. A coast that has gentle shelves so that the salt won’t be washed out into the sea,
3. Cheap fuel or where the sun shines strongly,
4. Near a place that offers another product, like a farm or a tanning workshop, so that salt can be used to add value to the other products (e.g. salted meat or leather)

Food experts and gourmets claim that sea salt is better than table salt in terms of taste and texture, but their differences are not easily noticeable once they have been dissolved. Sea salt contains minerals that dissolve at different rates, thus resulting in flavor changes when it is laid on the tongue. However, other salts that contain large amounts of minerals, like gray-colored rock salt or pink Himalayan salt, can be indistinguishable in flavor to sea salt.

While sea salt has some iodine content, it is hardly enough to meet a human being’s daily nutrition requirement, so it is not a viable alternative to iodized table salt for regular consumption. If sea salt is all that’s left, the consumer is well-advised to have other sources of iodine at hand, such as processed foods or dairy products. To respond to this concern, there are more suppliers who come out with iodized sea salt. To sea salt’s merit, it has other minerals that are lacking in regular table salt, like calcium, sulfate, potassium, and magnesium. There are also some traces of heavy metals including lead, cadmium, strontium, and mercury.

It is a common misconception that sea salts come from just about body of water. Suppliers take various factors into consideration, including age, mineral content, and how much the body of water was exposed to human intervention. Sea salts in the markets today often come from the Dead Sea, the Pacific Ocean, the Great Salt Lake in Utah, the Mediterranean Sea, and bodies of water in the Himalayas.

Aside from sea salt, you could also search for various organic products such as organic foods, organic coconut oil, organic agave nectar, organic nut butters and organic chlorella which would surely be able to provide you with a lot of health benefits.

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