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.
I was reminded by my friend and some kids at church that two Sundays ago was my first Mother's day (I thought Mother's day was for a mom that has born baby?) Some kids made cards for me. How cute!
This past few months, there are some people, through cards or in person, told us that we would be great parents. I know them well and know that they are so nice, but that sentence made me wonder. Will we be great parents? Can we? How to be great or even good parents? What if we can't be great parents? Since I only need to work and write thesis, I have free evening time and have time to ask some friends about parenting and ask about baby essentials we need to buy. Baby stuffs are overwhelming. Great, safe, organic, non-toxic stuffs come with price. Unfortunately we don't have unlimited budget to always get the best for our baby. Wait, the baby hasn't even born yet and we can be great parents? Surely it makes me ponder.
Fortunately I have some friends including my academic advisor who is also my "life" advisor to remind me to make things easier. They basically said that we can do as much and leave the rest to God. What works for others may not work for us and the other way around. Whatever we think is the best for our baby may not be something he likes. As long as we do our "best", that's enough; and sometimes our best may not look best for others.
I made martabak manis (Indonesian pancake with chocolate and cheese filling) that weekend. The recipe I got online was so promising. The owner of the blog where the recipe was posted said that it was an easy recipe but promise great result. I also found other person using that recipe with great picture, so I was so convinced that it would be like the one I had back home. I was wrong! My martabak manis was so dense without texture and tasted just okay. It probably is like being parents, no recipe is foolproof. There are too many variables in becoming parents, too impossible to be shaped to a cookie cutter.
I am sometimes convinced that being parents can't be that hard. Million people have done it for thousand years, right? But there are times when I worry about this new chapter I am about to embark. It may take us a while before we find our personalized recipe, one that works for us.
I made martabak manis again the next weekend using a different recipe. The result was much better that time but still different than martabak I got from street vendors back home. Healthier I supposed
Our friend posted some pictures of nasi bungkus (rice with meat and some side dish wrapped in a banana leaves or plastic-lined paper) and reminded me of my nasi Honda. I still love nasi bungkus but hubby often persuades me not to pack food from home when we are traveling. He wants the kitchen and the house to be clean before we leave. I can only prepare the nasi bungkus the morning before we leave because the food is kept in the refrigerator the whole night and it has to be heated first and cooled to room temperature before I can wrap it. It is an extra work for him in the morning when we are also have to be ready for the trip. It's his pet peeve that we leave later than planned
That time however, we agreed to bring nasi Honda to our trip to Indiana. I really prefer to pack lunch than stop at a restaurant because nasi Honda tastes better in my opinion, and eating at a restaurant wastes time. Furthermore, unless we know a great restaurant and can plan where we would stop, we would pick random restaurant that may not have nice food. That trip, I knew that I would stop at least every 2 hours per doctor recommendation, so bringing lunch from home was a perfect decision. It was our first nasi Honda experience inside Shiro, our newer Honda Civic.
The lunch I packed that day consisted of rice, spicy eggplant in coconut milk, and a whole egg per pack. As usual, hubby's portion was bigger than mine, hence the initials. We enjoyed our lunch at a rest area in Ohio, about half way of our nine-hour driving to see my in laws. On the way back to Tennessee, our sister in law pack lunch for us, which consisted of rice and beef empal my mom in law cooked. Instead of using paper wrap, she used a pyrex container
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.
I am really really tired of this cold weather and cannot wait for Spring to come. When counting my blessings in this kinda winter, I count twice the fact that hubby didn't choose a university in Montana for grad school. He got accepted there and luckily he picked Tennessee, otherwise I would hibernate for half a year during cold season.
In this kind of weather, there are several Indonesian soup I wish I could get in my town. Surprisingly, in my tropical country, there are a lot of traditional food that are perfect for freezing weather. Indonesian eat hot soup and hot beverage all year round in a 80-90ish F weather!
One food that I had a craving for was bakso (beef meatball soup). Meatball soup is sold by street vendors back home. Some go around the neighborhood so we could call them and they would come to our house. Finding food is so easy back home as we could just wait for the dinner to come to our doorstep. Anyway, one cold evening, I gather my energy to make one. Since I knew it would create a lot of mess, I made in a large quantity then freeze some of the balls for later. Mine's missing a lot of things, such as vermicelli, fried dumpling, fried meatball, and fried tofu. Nonetheless my sweet hubby said it was really good. Of course in cold weather, any hot soup would taste good
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!!!
Last Saturday was Independence Day in Indonesia. Since it falls on August the 17th, we also call it "17-an", similar to "the fourth" for 4th of July. Indonesians commonly celebrate their Independence day with their neighbors. Each neighborhood will decorate their subdivision and there will be games, parade, and party. Since the night before the 17th, my dad had been continuously keeping me updated with the party in his neighborhood. He sent me pictures of what was happening in the party. The people and the food.
Hubby and I too, had Independence Day party at home. The day before, we got a whole free range chicken from Earth Fare, which was a part of their coupon deal that week. We used Alton Brown's turkey recipe but used Klatenese grilled chicken (ayam panggang Klaten) ingredients for the brine. In case you don't know, Klaten is a town in Central Java. It's famous grilled chicken is sweet and rich because of coconut milk, palm sugar, and many other ingredients. To make it look more official, we also made yellow rice, which is a common dish for our Independence day.
In general, the chicken tasted good, but the Javanese taste wasn't strong enough. I think I need to add more ingredients next time or boil the chicken with the brine ingredients until the liquid dries out before roasting.
3/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup palm sugar
3 liters water
1 cup coconut milk
10 shallots, chopped
10 garlic, chopped
3 stalks lemon grass
5 keffir lime leaves
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 gallon heavily iced water
Combine all of the brine ingredients in a large pot and boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes to make sure the ingredients are cook through. Remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate. Place the chicken breast side down in brine. Make sure the chicken is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the chicken once half way through brining.
Hubby's only brother and his wife visited us last 4th July weekend. They live in Goshen Indiana, which is only less than half day driving distance, yet we barely see each other. We are all busy, but I think the more exact reason is... hm... brothers thing. For sisters like me and my older sisters, we would visit each other often if we were not thousand miles away. For brothers, no news is a good news, so I was so excited when they visited us.
When they were in our place, I planned on making egg rolls. I wanted to show them that I could make egg roll skin because I'd learned from hubby's grandma when I went home. I thought it would bring back hubby's and his brother's childhood memories. The plan was I made the skin and hubby's brother, who is a good cook, would make the filling. Unfortunately, we had our schedule full during their short visit and didn't have chance to cook together.
The evening after they left, I was still in high gear for making egg rolls. So I gathered all of the ingredients and make these rolls. My second attempt to make the skins was probably slightly better than the previous one. The first skins were too thick, which could be used as towels to clean the kitchen table The rest was fine except some thick patches caused bumpy skins.
What made the egg roll tasted much better was the sauce. Hubby told me that some egg roll sauce tasted like glue (not that he had tasted glue), so he asked if I could make better sauce. While thinking what I could use for the sauce, I remembered some chicken broth I made when I needed boiled chicken breast for choux paste filling. I was happy to have leftover broth because using chicken broth made a big different for the sauce; and guess first topic I brought up the next time I called my mom in-law
Egg Roll Sauce
Ingredients: 350ml chicken broth
2 finely grated garlic
50gr palm sugar
Salt and pepper
1 Tbs tapioca or corn starch dissolved in some water
Using a sauce pan, cook broth, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper until boiled. Add the starch mixture into the pan with low heat. Mix well.