Steamed chicken feet is our must-order dish at any dim sum restaurant. The idea of eating feet may turn some people off, but trust me, it is so tasty and addictive. Sucking on the bones and slurping the tender skins and cartilages are absolutely satisfying! I myself was grossed out by them when I was a kid. I remember my grandma often persuaded me to eat chicken feet for various health benefits including strong bones, and I just couldn't even try them. I blamed my neighbor's annoying free-range chickens that always managed to intrude my front yard. My grandma must be proud of me now. We usually order at least two portions of chicken feet for the three of us. Furthermore, this famous menu is one of our decision making in rating dim sum restaurants.
Serving dim sum style chicken feet on my own dining table had become my cooking obsession. So, I asked butchers at a grocery store that sold free range and organic chickens if they had the feet, and they said no. I knew an oriental grocery store that sold those, but I don't really trust the meat quality at that store. I asked several times the next grocery visits, hoping that they had those. Well, the feet need to go somewhere, right? Years later (after I quit asking the butchers) I found bags of chicken feet in their fridge, and they were so inexpensive. It's $2 for 15 feet! I had a wide smile having 30 chicken feet marching home.
Little that I knew that getting the chicken feet was the easiest part. All promising recipes I read involved all frying, braising, marinating, and steaming. I thought they were only steamed? It took me about two months to build up momentum to cook them. I must say that cooking them is a labor of love! We had to wait until the next day (yeah, couldn't speed things up having a toddler around) before we really had them served on our table. The greatest part was, they were as great as ones we can get from dim sum restaurants; and most importantly, hubby and our toddler (yes our toddler) loved them. It was so rewarding seeing them enjoying what I cooked. However, I may not make it again in a near future. Driving to Atlanta --the closest place to get dim sum-- may still be a better option
Chicken Feet Source: Dim Sum Central with some modifications 1 pound chicken feet
2 quarts oil
2 quarts water
1 ounce fresh ginger
3 pieces star anise
2 ounces honey
Galantin is Indonesian version of meatloaf. I don't know what galantin means or what's the history behind it. But I would guess it is Dutch influenced. FYI, Indonesian was under Dutch rule for 350 years!, so it is not surprising that there are many Dutch influences in Indonesian food and culture. Galantin was (and still, I just called my mom) a common wedding reception menu. It wasn't on top list of my favorite food, but I like the combination of savory taste from the meat, sweet taste from the vegetables, and sour taste from the red sauce.
This past few days, however, I had a serious galantin craving. I never made it before, but found a recipe that I adjusted with ingredients I had. The original galantin is fried to get golden-brown side, but mine was baked for 30 minutes. For the vegetables, I used steamed carrots, fresh sugar snap peas, fresh lettuces, and steamed garlic scapes (those long dark green vegetables on top). For the carb, I chose baked potato wedges with skin. The recipe called for bread crumb, but I used mixed of cornmeal and wheat flour since I didn't have bread nor bread crumb.
We enjoyed our colorful dish. I only steamed one loaf and it is good for 3 meals.
Mix all of the ingredients. Place half of the mixture on a prepared aluminum foil sheet. Roll up the sheet to be a sausage shape. Twist the end of the foil to avoid leakage. Do the same step for the rest of the meat mixture. Steam for 45 minutes. Open the aluminum foil, bake at 350'F for 30 minutes. Slice the loaf into rounds to serve.
One thing I can't eat as much as I want because of being pregnant that I miss much is eating fish. There are some fishes that are of no go during pregnancy such as shark, tuna, and other big fishes because of high mercury level. Raw fish is also off the chart, which makes me crave raw sushi eventhough I don't usually eat raw sushi often. Luckily, there are some fishes that are considered "safe" for consumption during pregnancy, although there is also recommended limitation such as no more than 2-6 ounces of that fish per week.
Trout is one kind of fish that falls on that category. So, hubby was so excited when he found trouts at Earth Fare. We bought 2 and planned on steaming them with ginger and broccoli. As I looked for recipe, I became more and more interested in pepes ikan (fish wrapped in banana leaves, then steamed, and grilled). Making it was so simple. The most hassling part was to take out our giant steamer from our kitchen cabinet, and of course it would take up so much space of our stove for days. Mom gave that steamer, which was her favorite, to me when I moved to the US. It's big and served its purpose in my parents' house because she used it everyday to heat food (our family didn't use microwave to do so although mom had it since I was in highschool). Here in the States, I don't use steamer that much, so we store it at the very back of our kitchen cabinet.
We had a pepes party that evening. This kind of food makes us FAT! because we liked it much and couldn't stop eating. The nice aroma filled our apartment, which reminded me of my grandma. Oh, and the best way to eat this kind of food is by using hand, no silverware needed! Ah, something I took for granted when I was still living in Indonesia.
I've been freed from cooking this past three weeks. My parents in law visited us, and my mom in law cooked for us everyday. I made a list of food I missed from home, and she gladly cooked those for us. It was nice to get home smelling sweet aroma from our kitchen. Now that they are in my bro in law's house, we can still enjoy some leftover she purposely set aside for us for two weeks ahead.
It is hard to get Indonesian food in our city. There are some Indonesian-food wannabes from some Asian restaurants, but none is satisfying. The closest 'real' Indonesian restaurants from our city is in Atlanta, which is 3-4 hour driving. For some people we know, it is worth the drive, since making Indonesian food demands time and energy. But hubby and I never go there just for the food. So, when I am craving any home food, I have to cook it myself.
Last month, I craved nasi kuning (turmeric rice). I was busy with school work at that time, but my craving was much bigger than that I had cooked nasi several time before and kinda know the ingredients, but I never made note of the composition. I follow my grandma, using feeling as a measuring device. I realized that it's a bad habit, because I think my last nasi kuning, including the sides were the best one I've ever made, and there's no way to replicate that without written recipe.
The sides were chicken and egg rendang, Balinese eggplant and tofu, fried egg, and emping belinjo.
Nasi ayam is a traditional food in my town, Semarang. It consists of chicken, egg, and tofu cooked in coconut milk soup, white rice cooked in coconut milk, and spicy chayote. It is the most praised and wanter yet humble food ever exists in my town. Some other traditional food like lumpia cost ridiculous amount of money after it becomes famous. Nasi ayam, on the other hand, can be enjoyed by everyone. No wonder at the parking area of a nasi ayam shop (it actually is a temporary tent that is erected in the evening and taken down at midnight) there would be various of vehicle from becaks, bikes, motorcycles, to luxury cars.
I'd been having a craving for nasi ayam for the longest time. My craving got worse when my friend posted picture of it on her blog. Argh! The thought of going home last winter then next summer kinda helped a bit, but we just found out that next summer still isn't a good time to go home. Ok, that's enough! I decided to make my own nasi ayam! It surely was a lot of work, so I started boiling the eggs yesterday. The shopping for the ingredients was done last night. The cooking started today after church.
The result? As expected, it was far from the original. I realized how much coconut milk the original has, which makes the taste really good. Not just the taste that's different, mine also didn't have sate usus, ati, rempelo, and telur puyuh (chicken intestine, liver, gizzard, and quail egg satay). However, hubby and I had fun cooking and enjoying it. Yumm...
Blessed are those who can enjoy nasi ayam in Semarang!!!
We've been getting carrots with their green leaves from our CSA farmer. The amount of the greens are enormous compare to the size of the carrot. I was wondering why store brought carrots are leafless. Is it because of space limitation since food in the US often travels hundreds or thousands miles before it sits on a store's shelf? Space is money. I got it. Edibility could be another reason. If it's not edible, why bother, right?
Curious about the greens, I did a little research online and found some conflicting results. Some say they have various kinds of vitamin and mineral, and especially have high potassium content. However, some say they contain alkaloids, chemical compounds that are often toxic. Some say they contain allergenic substances, that can affect some people just like peanut to some people.
I tend to believe that carrot greens are safe to eat. Well, I mean my carrot greens. They are organic and I know where they come from; and our farmer is an amazing lady that eats plants that I never heard of so I know she has tried carrot greens and would tell us if they were toxic.
So I cooked some of they greens and they were great. They had strong and bitter taste, just like parsley. I mixed the chopped carrot greens with small amount of ground beef, seasoned it with salt, pepper, cumin, and corriander, then wrapped the mixture in cabbage leaf. For the sauce, I used onion, coconut milk, chilli pepper, turmeric, lemon grass, keffir lime leaves, palm sugar, coriander, cumin, salt, and pepper. This dish reminded me of buntil, a traditional Javanese dish made out of papaya leaves, that my sister loves so much.
So, next time you have carrot greens, don't waste or compost them right away. Who knows you could make something great out of them and could share with me how you cook them.
"A supertaster is a person who experiences the sense of taste with far greater intensity than average." -Wikipedia "Recoiling at the bitter taste may also have something to do with genetic ancestry." -PBS
I am a supertaster? I recall one experiment I did in biology lab some summers ago in which I had to taste a piece of paper. I didn't taste anything while some people immediately made funny faces following by saying that the paper tasted SO bad. So, no I don't think I have that gene. However, I can taste strong, bitter, and unpalatable taste of arugula -a vegetable hubby and some people I know don't have a problem with its taste. Whenever I addressed my hesitation about eating arugula, he couldn't quite understand.
Despite my disliking of the taste, I keep eating arugula just because it is a vegetable and because it's in our CSA box. Usually, I just mix them with eggs and pan fried them or bake them. Last week, I searched for a different recipe. I looked for a recipe that required a lot of arugula that also called for other ingredients that will soften up the bitter taste. I found one! Btw, I love the color of the egg yolks of the eggs we got from our CSA farmer's chickens. The yolks were deep orange, which made the tart so bright.
Crust: 1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, chilled
2 tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed
Filling: 1 yellow onion, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 cups baby arugula leaves
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
8 large eggs, at room temperature
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the crust: Combine the flours, parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms a coarse meal. With the motor running, gradually add the ice water and process until the mixture forms a ball. Turn the ingredients into the buttered tart pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom and side of the pan. Refrigerate for 20 minute. Prick the dough with fork and bake for 12 minutes. Let the crust cool for 15 minutes.
First of all, my apology for not updating this blog for over a month. I am at my other home right now, have been savoring my time with my family and relatives. Here at my parents' house, food is readily available, sounds redundant to me to cook. So, I've been on a cooking hiatus, except when I want to learn new recipes.
Initially, I was irritated with the weather and told myself not to go home during rainy season like now. It rains almost everyday, not mentioning some intense tropical rains, which cause flood and traffic jam paralyzing the city. Aside from the excessive un-managed stormwater, I love being here during Christmas time because it also means loving-water vegetables and fruits are in season.
One vegetable that only exists at the end of the year is boros. Boros looks like lemon grass but smaller, shorter, and softer. This grass vegetable may be an "acquired taste", because I know many people who swore not eat it. This veggie also loses it's fame. Most people my generation I asked either didn't like or never heard of it. However, Boros is a tradition in my family. Grandma used to make pepes boros in large amount then shared it with her four children and their family.
I had never had a chance to cook it myself, so I was happy when my aunt was happy to pass down the recipe. That Saturday, I picked her up and brought her to my house. Some of my relatives came to see the cooking demonstration also. I treasured our little reunion while following the cooking process then closed with enjoying the final product.
The ingredients for pepes boros are boros, pedo (salty fishes), shallots, garlic, coriander, candlenuts, tamarind, egg, stinky beans, palm sugar, and salt.
This is the main dish for the coleslaw I posted on previous entry. No, we didn't get KFC as hubby suggested For this dish, I used meat that was available in my freezer: two thighs, wings, and a drumstick. The various parts of dark meat was because I like to buy a whole chicken. That way I could use the breasts for vegetable stir-fried, the ribs and bones for chicken broth, and the dark meat for any main dish like this.