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!