Monday, April 23, 2012

A Post on Furikake

This may be me being too much of a japanophile, but I'm going to talk about furikake.

Most flavoring of rice in the west comes when you're actually cooking the rice. Which is fine and dandy, but also takes this little thing called forethought, which I, and a lot of college students, do not have a whole lot of.

Furikake rice seasoning however, does not. You sprinkle it on rice, and bam! it actually tastes like something. That's pretty impressive for something that you just sprinkle on rice. I mean, salt can do a similar thing, but only to such an extent. Furikake is typically made up of different dry seasonings, like shredded seaweed, tiny preserved shrimps, and sesame seeds. The ones I have here are a seaweed and sesame seed mix, toasted black sesame seeds, and... I think the pink one may be plum flavored? Mostly I just bought it because it was pretty and pink, and turned out to be pretty tasty too.

Now, I know Japanese food is kind of an acquired taste. The seasonings normally used in Japanese food, especially packaged foods, have a different balance than in American food, and often taste saltier or indescribably "fishier" even if the food in question does not contain fish. If you can't stand this, I recommend at least trying out gomashio, the black one on the far left. It's just toasted black sesame seeds and salt. If this sounds familiar, it's because it's the same seasoning set on tables at Crazy Bowls and Wraps, so it meshes pretty well with American tastes. I bought my can of gomashio at an Asian grocery for about $5, but you can make it yourself pretty easily if you have a stove or oven, a la the recipes at Just Bento.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Delicious Tomato Glop

Yesterday I bought this stuff. It's called Amore Tomato Paste. It's a box at the store, and when you open the box what you get is this thing that looks like a toothpaste tube, and it's full of tomato paste. The tomatoes I get are always going bad because I'm not using them fast enough, so I thought that this might be a good substitute.

I did buy grape tomatoes yesterday, though, so with this tomato paste and the grape tomatoes, I decided to do a little experiment. I ended up with delicious tomato glop.

I guess you could call it a sauce. It's pretty chunky, though, and really tasty. And I made it in the microwave! It's really quick, too, so even if you have a stove you can make this quickly in the microwave if your pasta is done but you don't have a sauce.

Anyway. To make the glop, you need:
about 6 grape tomatoes
1/5th tube of tomato paste
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and sugar to taste
Any seasonings you want to add -- I put in some oregano and a finely chopped garlic clove, but you can put in whatever. Other spices and a bit of vinegar might be nice, too.

How to make the glop:

Chop up the grape tomatoes. About 6 sections per grape tomato is fine. The finer you chop the grape tomato the less chunky the end result will be. Add the olive oil, and squirt on the tomato paste. Mix well. Add a couple tablespoons of water, salt and sugar, and any seasonings. You can add those later to taste, too. Microwave on high for 3 minutes covered. After those three minutes are up, take out the dish, mix again, and microwave uncovered for three minutes. After that, mix in about 1 tablespoon of water into the mix, and stir well. Season to taste.

Here's the end result on that goddess of all pastas, tortellini, for an idea of the texture:

I will definitely be making this stuff again soon. Yum!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Microwave garlic spinach

Okay, here's my lunch for tomorrow:

Now, I also took a close up of the green things in the corner:

Now, on the left are obviously green grapes. On the right is something I discovered how to make in the microwave. It's, yep, garlic microwave spinach.

That probably sounds totally gross. But hear me out.

Take maybe 1 tsp of butter in a microwaveable bowl, and throw some minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Microwave for 25 seconds. Then, add a couple handfuls of spinach to the bowl, making sure to thoroughly coat the leaves in the melted butter, and microwave for another minute.

The result is amazing. It's almost like spinach chips, or something (but they're kind of greasy, so don't eat it with your hands). Foodies can kvetch all they like that I'm ruining perfectly good leafy green vegetables by putting them through the Paula Deen method, but still. Try it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Microwave Omelet-scrambled egg-thingy

Okay, this is a very simple lunch+snack I made for tomorrow (yeah yeah I like to make bento boxes, wanna fight about it?) but the most important part about it is the yellow stuff on the far side. The point is, I figured out how to make eggs in the microwave.

I was skeptical at first. After all, changing the cooking method usually changes the end result. The tomatoes from the tortellini with tomatoes made in oil tasted very savory while those stewed with the oil added later were very sweet. Omelets in the microwave had to be nowhere as good as their pan-fried counterparts, right?

Well... not exactly. At least, I'm not an egg connosieur, so maybe I just can't tell the difference. But these eggs in the microwave (mixed up, with 1/2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tbsp milk) for one minute, with saran wrap over the bowl I cooked them in, tasted pretty damn decent. How bizarre.

I'm hoping this will save me some money in the future, as eggs tend to be cheaper than things like lunch meat (but they're still not as cheap as peanutbutter!). Budget-enforced vegetarianism, here I come!

Monday, February 21, 2011


Alriiight. I made some chocolate chip cookies in the microwave last night. I picked up some refrigerated cookie dough. Tasty enough as is, but I wanted cookies. I stuck a few spoonfuls on a Pampered Chef small round stone, but for those who don't have it, any microwave plate should work. They definitely stick a little but they are still quite tasty. Just stick it in the microwave for two minutes. Let them cool a bit before eating and enjoy. They are not the best cookies, but they were still quite tasty.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pasta! With Sauce!

Today I made some pasta! Yummo. Bascially, I just made it in a microwaveable bowl. Depending on the amount of pasta, it takes around 6 minutes to make in the microwave. Drain the water and add a little bit of spaghetti sauce and marinated artichoke hearts. If you wanted to, you could heat it up so the sauce was warm, but it was fine without it. Instant meal! The downside to this is that I now have mostly full containers of spaghetti sauce and artichoke hearts in my fridge... Looks like I'll be making more pasta next week!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tortellini with Grape Tomatoes: Take 2

Apparently cooking with oil in a hot pot is beyond dangerous (I kind of get that feeling sometimes, but you know what, sometimes I'm bad at not risking myself for science).

If you want an equally delicious and much safer version, you can simply boil a bit of water with salt in the hot pot and add the tomatoes, boiling them until they burst. Then you can strain them out of the water, add them to the tortellini, and then add the oil/salt/garlic. If the tortellini is already warm you can eat it as is, but otherwise you should heat it up for about 30 seconds in the microwave. It does taste slightly different, but is very good. Also, you won't have to worry about setting off the dorm's fire alarm, which everyone in the dorm will definitely appreciate.

After making this twice in two days my room still smells like Italian food.

We'll keep you updated on if we find any more ways to stew those tomatoes.